employer wants my SAT scores, raffling off extra vacation days, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. Employer asked me for my SAT scores when I applied for a director-level role

This week I applied for a director-level role and the application asked me for my SAT scores. It has been about 15 years since I took them and I know the scoring has changed since then, but I gave a good estimate of what I remembered my scores being. I applied because it seemed like a very interesting role, but then they came back and asked me to fill out a questionnaire in which I was asked to fill out the SAT score field again, as if I didn’t tell them what my score was on the application just 24 hours ago.

Is it normal to ask for my SAT scores, especially if it’s for a director role? It seems like an easy way discriminate based on age, particularly since they also ask you to indicate whether your score is out of 2400 or 1600 (when I took the test, the highest score was a 1600). Also, I’m not exactly sure what my SAT score has to do with my qualifications for the job as it pertains to knowledge and skill.

Am I right to raise an eyebrow at this? Or is it common? An informal poll of my network found that most people I know have never been asked for this, and this is the first time I have been asked.

No, it’s not normal. It’s actually quite weird.

It’s one thing to use something like GPA when candidates are right out of school and don’t have much of a work history to point to; in that case, it’s an attempt to get some data on candidates who don’t have much of a track record otherwise. But even that stops being useful once people advance in their careers and you can look at their actual work accomplishments.

SAT scores at a director-level role? No. Weird, not normal, and indicative of some very strange thinking going on there.

2. Raffling off extra vacation days

The itinerary for the annual company picnic was posted this morning, and I just opened it to discover that two of the raffle prizes are extra vacation days. 3 x 1 full days, or 4 x 1 half days, in addition to the usual mix of gift cards. The raffle tickets are given out one per employee, and extras could be earned by wearing specific company colors or disease awareness shirts on specific days. (We’re a pharmaceutical company, in case diseases seems odd to non-pharma types.)

Is giving out extra vacation days to seven employees out of our entire staff of 500-1000ish people ethical? Is it legal? Is it advisable? We get less than industry standard — two weeks versus three weeks for most of biotech on the east coast. (Not sure about big pharma, but we’re definitely more biotech than big pharma.) We also are mostly salaried and, as such, have a little more leeway with taking time off, especially since many of us will put in a 10-12 hour day several times a year, and our supervisors don’t tend to stress if we leave early or come in late as long as our work gets done.

Anyway, am I wrong in thinking this feels unethical somehow? Or at the very least, weird? And if so, is there anything realistically that could be done about it?

It doesn’t strike me as particularly weird or unethical. It’s a thing some companies do. It does feel a little more slap-in-the-face in a company with stingy vacation time, but the idea of giving out extra vacation days itself isn’t outrageous.

3. HR lied to us about a coworker who threatened violence

HR lied to us about police presence and a potential shooter. They claimed the police presence was due to the hurricane. (We are not in a state affected by either hurricane.) Do employees have a right to know if a coworker has threatened violence?

I don’t know of any state that requires employees to be notified if a coworker has threatened violence (although that doesn’t mean there isn’t one), but your best argument here isn’t about the law anyway — it’s about what your employer did being a terrible practice. Openly lying to employees about something like this is one of the stupidest things a company can do, because now no one is going to believe them on other serious issues. They’ve destroyed their credibility. What’s more, it was stupid from a safety perspective too — because if you don’t know that a coworker has threatened violence, you may inadvertently worsen the situation, such as letting in someone who doesn’t belong in the building or otherwise adding to the danger because no one told you what to look out for.

You and your coworkers should push back on this hard. As a group, formally complain about how this was handled — pointing out the things above — and make it clear that you’re not going to stand by while the company lies to you about active threats to your safety.

4. Is this connection too tenuous to use?

I just applied to a job at a large organization which is sure to be inundated with applications. I know a senior-level manager there who used to be a senior-level manager at my current company. We did not work directly together (we were in different offices) but she knows my work because she oversaw some of it. I’ve heard, via my boss, that she’s named a project I worked on as an example of good work (about 1.5 years ago). But I’ve never met her in person and she was several levels above me. Should I reach out and tell her I’ve applied for a job at her current company? Or is that too tenuous a connection? If yes, how should I phrase it?

Yes, contact her! She knows your work — and even oversaw some of it! — so it’s not too tenuous of a connection. I’d say this: “I wanted to let you know that I’ve applied for the llama groomer role with Llamas United. I’m hoping that you remember my work from Llamaville — such as the llama birthing project I did with your team — and if you think I could be a good match for this role, I’d be so grateful if you mentioned me to the hiring manager, who I believe is Jane Frogson. Either way, I hope things are going well for you over there. It seems like a great place to work!”

{ 498 comments… read them below }

  1. Gaia*

    I believe the SAT is back to 1600 now but the “new” 1600 is calculated differently than “my” 1600 (not that I got a 1600 ha!) and I just took mine in 2002! And what about those that took it during the 2400 stage!? What could this possibly tell an employer?

    1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      That’s my understanding, too (about the scoring).

      But more importantly, requiring this information is regressive and dumb. There are all sorts of problems with requiring people to report their SAT score, but most significantly, it’s dumb because it provides literally zero relevant or valuable information about a candidate’s qualifications for the position. OP#1, this is not a common practice, and I would be pretty skeptical that there’s a valid or logically defensible reason for requesting this information.

      1. neverjaunty*

        Asking for high school or college-specific data like GPA or SAT scores is an unfortunately common way to screen out older workers.

        1. Jeanne*

          That’s not the only reason. A famous pharma company will not hire you unless your GPA was high enough, even if you are over 50 with 30 years experience.

          1. Lora*

            Ugh. I work with people from this pharma at my current job. Some are good, but some of them…well, bless their hearts, I’ll pray for them.

          2. mrs__peel*

            That’s so ridiculous. There are tons of possible reasons why people don’t do well in college (e.g., family issues, mental/physical health problems, dealing with assault, having to work because their families aren’t wealthy, etc.) that have nothing to do with them being a good worker later on.

            Also, it’s very normal for people to start college when they’re teenagers, find they’re not ready, and go back later on as adults. Some of the best coworkers I’ve ever had have done this. (Including my best friend at work, who went to school during the evenings while working full-time in his late 30s, ended up being valedictorian, and got a full ride to grad school).

            1. many bells down*

              Yup that was me. I coasted through high school with minimal effort (and had a decent SAT score too), and then when I got to college and things were actually difficult I discovered I had absolutely no study skills whatsoever.

              When I went back to college in my 30’s I knew exactly what my weaknesses were and how to manage them. Straight-A student that time.

            2. Janelle*

              I had crap grades as school bored me but had a 1480 on my SATs so getting into college was easy. But guess what. College classes bored me too. I graduated but I wouldn’t be bragging about my GPA. And guess what? All of that ha zero to do with my work ethic or skills 20 years later. Zero! Frankly I wouldn’t even be able to guess my HS or college GPA at this point. I know it wasn’t stellar but I truly have no real clue. Unless one is just out of school with no work experience this is just the silliest thing ever. All it proved was that I am lazy in school but test well. What about the kids who busted their butts but don’t test well!! If a potential employer asked me this I’d remove myself. It just proves they have no idea how to hire.

            3. Elizabeth West*

              And they often do better the second time around. My first time, in music school right out of high school, I nearly flunked out. I ended up quitting. Second time, it took me six years (because I was working full-time), but I made the Dean’s list twice and graduated cum laude.

        2. Five after Midnight*

          Or immigrants! If you never went to high school in the US, you’re automatically disqualified! I wouldn’t be surprised given our current political climate… Sheesh…

          1. Jessica*

            Or if you’re from my part of the country (fly over states). Where I’m from the SATs are seen as more of an East Coast thing.
            I knew of few students that took them.

            1. Fake Eleanor*

              Really? Interesting. I wonder if it’s more of an urban/rural thing — I’m from the Milwaukee suburbs, and most kids I know took them (and/or the ACT). We had no illusions about being East Coast.

              1. anoncmntr*

                I imagine “or the ACT” is specifically is specifically what Jessica means. I grew up in Wisconsin, too, and plenty of kids just took the ACT because that was more applicable locally. Not sure whether they thought the SAT was “an East Coast thing”, but regardless, they wouldn’t be able to report SAT scores now.

                1. VioletEMT*

                  Also from Wisconsin. My HS guidance counselor didn’t understand why I *wanted* to take the SAT. I was applying to some east-coast schools that wanted it. He tried to talk me out of applying anywhere but the UW and a handful of local private colleges. Mostly he was lazy and zero help to college-bound kids. But a lot of my friends and their families shared the “SAT is for snooty east-coast schools” attitude.

                2. Solidus Pilcrow*

                  Hi fellow Wisconsinites! Also took the ACT, 20+ years ago. I couldn’t tell you exactly what my scores were and have no clue how to find them if asked.

                  @VioletEMT: It would seem we had the same useless counselor. I didn’t ask about taking SATs, but got very pointed “advice” that girls were supposed to be nurses or elementary school teachers (circa 1990).

                3. ThatGirl*

                  I went to high school in Indiana and took the SAT (could have taken ACT, but chose SAT for some unremembered reason); my now-husband went to high school in Chicago and says nearly everyone in the metro area took the ACT.

                4. Kelly L.*

                  Yep, ACT. A lot of Midwestern schools wanted the ACT instead. I took both because I was also applying to an East Coast school.

                5. NLMC*

                  Exactly, I only took the ACT because the schools I was applying to only required one of the two. And either way that 20 years ago and has zero to do with who I am today. I’m pretty sure I would get a lower score today but know I’m much smarter and a more valuable worker than I was when I was 17.

                6. College Career Counselor*

                  ACT was more of a southern schools testing option/requirement when I was growing up (although I understand this has changed). Either way, I’m in agreement with everyone else that asking for SAT scores for a director-level role is weird, irrelevant and NOT NORMAL (or good, for that matter) practice.

                  I agree with Alison that some companies in some industries (*cough* Goldman Sachs *cough*) ask for SAT scores from their entry-level applicants. They view it as a proxy for intellectual ability (although they have GPA, which should also do it). I guess they just want as many data points as they can get.

                7. Solidus Pilcrow*

                  @Myrin: I’m a technical writer, currently for a manufacturing company. I started college for industrial design, but switched to English with a concentration on technical writing. Not a nurse or a teacher. :)

                8. k*

                  I only took the ACT, and most of my peers did the same. I’m from Illinois and was only applying to schools in the midwest. That being said, I took it nearly 15 years ago and couldn’t even take a guess at what my score was. Its something I wrote down on my college apps and haven’t thought about since.

                9. Kyrielle*

                  I took both – west coast was more SAT but a mix of both, but I was applying to a couple places in the Midwest which more emphasized ACT.

                  Regardless, if you remember your SAT score or have a copy of it – even if you took it! – by the time you’re applying to director-level roles, you either have a *very* good memory, or an unhealthy obsession with tests that should have ceased to have any use for you at this stage of your career.

                  When I was just out of high school or college, my GPA was probably a better evaluation of what I could do than my SAT or ACT scores. Unless I was applying to a job where the main role was taking standardized tests, which I’m fairly good at.

                  Asking for it more than one job after college is *bizarre*.

                10. Temperance*

                  I always thought that the ACT was what rich, Harvard-bound kids took, and the SATs were for regular kids. lol

                11. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night*

                  Chiming in from the Milwaukee area as well. My daughter only took the ACTs. I took the ACTs and the SAT’s, but I grew up in New York State. I couldn’t tell you what I got on them if my life was on the line – that was nearly 30 years ago!

                12. Anion*

                  Yeah, I took the ACT because MO schools preferred it and the other out-of-state schools I was looking at accepted it as well as the SAT. I got a 29 (stupid math ruined my score) but that apparently wouldn’t matter at all to OP’s employer!

                13. mrs__peel*

                  @ Kyrielle-

                  The only reason I remember mine is that I got a perfect score on the verbal section and almost the lowest possible score on the math! (Which is a perfectly accurate reflection of my abilities, really).

                  Fortunately, no one’s ever asked me about it since I initially applied to college. And my present employer doesn’t know that I count on my fingers.

                14. BF50*

                  I remember my scores because I did fairly well on them and they allowed me to be considered for schools that would have otherwise eliminated me based on GPA. Which shows you that in high school, I was smart but lazy/bored/unmotivated/whatever. Definitely not the impression I want to give to future employers.

                  I took both, but most of my friends only took the SAT.

                15. Mallory Janis Ian*

                  I’m from Arkansas, and most of the schools around here want the ACT. My high school counselor had me take both the ACT and the SAT because 1) I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go and she was encouraging me to apply to schools outside our region as well as within, and 2) she thought taking the SAT would provide access to more scholarship opportunity.

                  I ended up going to a private liberal arts college, in-state, that took the ACT scores, so I never actually used the SAT scores, but I’m glad my HS counselor was actively looking out for students’ best academic interests.

                16. SusanIvanova*

                  In Texas everyone took the PSAT and SAT – I had one of those scholarships you get from scoring well on the PSAT. Not that it did me much good – doing your calculus homework during roll call does not prepare you for college.

                17. Cactus*

                  @SusanIvanova–National Merit Scholarships. The PSAT is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, or NMSQT, which one of my favorite teachers pronounced as “Nim-Squat.”

                  I took both the SAT and the ACT–I’m from the midwest, but it’s the Eastern midwest, and friends of mine from the western midwest consider the place I’m from to be part of the east coast. And I was applying to schools in the midwest, west, and east, which so both tests were needed. I remember my scores for the SAT, but not the ACT.

              2. Paul*

                Where I’m from I think most people took the ACT? But it’s been long enough that I’m not 100% sure, and damned if I remember my ACT score (or even know how to look it up).

                1. Sparky*

                  I’m in Colorado and I took the ACT, and that’s all I remember. I don’t remember my score, or how good it was or wasn’t. I don’t remember this stuff because I graduated decades ago and no one would legitimately request this info from me at this point. I have a job history, a resume and referrals. I remember I forgot to take my i.d. when I took the ACT but another student from my school said I was who I claimed to be and that was good enough.

                2. PhyllisB*

                  I took the ACT (Southeast US) I never even heard of SAT until after I left school. I know my score because for some reason I kept the paper with the scores on it. Have never been asked once since I applied to college.

                3. Kimberlee, Esq.*

                  Yeah, I’m from Idaho and while there were definitely some students who took the SAT (especially high-achievers), most people took the ACT if we took any at all. I actually remember my score, too, cause it was a 29… smart, but middlin’ smart.

              3. Snowglobe*

                I grew up in Iowa, and everyone there took the ACT. I needed the SAT for a scholarship and had to drive 60 miles to take it, as it wasn’t offered anywhere in my county.

              4. Charlotte Collins*

                Another Midwesterner here. ACTs were more common in the Midwest in the 1980s, and most colleges accepted either, unless you were trying to get into the Ivy League.

                Personally, I think they were a better assessment tool. You had four subject categories instead of two, and they gave a more well-rounded idea of your skills.

                Weirdly, I still remember my ACT score, but I can’t remember my GRE scores, which I did more recently. (The subject test was the only important part in my field.)

            2. Zip Silver*

              I dunno, we took the SAT in Texas. I know a couple of kids who took the ACT, but not many, and the ones who did seemed to have taken both.

              1. Erin*

                I never took any standardized tests and I have a bachelors. I went to community college for 2 years, the recruiter for lcollege said I didn’t need them to go to their school. Then when I transferred to a 4 year university they had no interest in my high school grades or my standardized test scores, I don’t even think they cared if I had a high school diploma. Those tests are so overrated. They don’t prove work skills or intelligence. Just test taking skills, and in the real world people prefer if you look something up in the book before you make a mistake and do something wrong.

                1. Noobtastic*

                  True! At most jobs I’ve been in, they’d rather see you check the procedure each time than “test” well.

                  In fact, I have worked places where it was REQUIRED to check the procedure each time, for lab work, at least. Sure, they don’t post the instructions for alphabetical filing all over, but for certain processes that have to be done right, whether it be in a lab or an office, if each step is vital, they post that process, and you have to check off each step as you go.

                  Also, my favorite boss ever told me my best skill was not knowing everything, but knowing just how to find the information, when I needed it. I was the go-to person for the whole department, to find out anything. Finance question? Ask Noobtastic. Personnel question? Ask Noobtastic. Formatting question? Ask Noobtastic. I tell ya, that one year I spent as a librarian’s assistant REALLY paid off. That, and my network of people who knew the answers. If I couldn’t find it, directly, I knew who could.

              2. NoNoNoNoNo*

                California… IIRC students, teachers, parents, et al. just expected it to be the SAT.

                The ACT was an option but I dont know anyone that took it.

                It was a million years ago (1978/9) but I remember my score. My GRE…not a freaking clue.

            3. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

              I’m from IN and we take the SAT here. But in KY, they take the ACT. Since were on the border a lot of people took both but the SAT was definitely more common unless you knew you were going to a school that needed the ACT score.

            4. not my usual alias*

              Exactly. The colleges in my area don’t require the SAT, only the ACT. Students who are applying locally and aren’t looking for big scholarships often skip the SAT.

            5. bookish*

              I’m an East Coast person and omg, I just remembered that in addition to the SATs there were also extra SATs for specific subjects (SAT2?) and some colleges required that in addition to the SATs you had to provide scores for a couple of these. Those were the schools I ruled out because I just wasn’t going to put myself through that, which is why I didn’t apply to Ivy Leagues. (The other reason being that I went to a super overachiever-y high school and knew full well that there were people who had spent their entire lives as one long con mission to get into Harvard etc, and if some of these people weren’t even going to get in, what chance did I stand)

              1. Kelly L.*

                Yep! And every one of these things cost money, and so did each application. I forgot all about this once and started wondering, “why didn’t I apply for more schools? Neither the one I went to nor the ones I didn’t go to were really good fits for me, in hindsight.” And then I remembered: every single one cost money. I couldn’t paper the world with applications even if I’d wanted to.

            6. TootsNYC*

              yep–it’s not that we didn’t take a standardized test LIKE the SATs.

              I grew up in Iowa, and we took the ACTs. I didn’t know anyone who took the SATs.

              (I also thought each state had its own Basic Skills Test–I didn’t realize a lot of you guys were using ours!)

            7. Becky*

              I am an East Coaster who was planning to go to a western school that preferred the ACT–I ended up taking both the SAT and the ACT but was in a very small minority of those who took the ACT.

            8. Witty Nickname*

              Yep. I took the ACT. And it’s been long enough that I don’t remember what my score was; I stopped having to think about it once I got accepted into college. I don’t even know if the SAT was an option for me.

            9. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

              I went to school in rural California. Everyone took the SAT. EVERYONE, even if you weren’t sure you were going to college or if you were enlisting in the military right after graduation. It was worth 1600 points back then.

              Only the top 15% of the class took the ACT. Not on purpose, but that’s how it worked out. The tests are different and it was possible to have a better result on one over the other. For best college application acceptance, you maximized by taking both tests.

              The SAT scores are now back to 1600 again, but it’s somewhat broken down into three components, not two. Math is still math, but the Verbal score is now a combination of Reading and Writing & Language. So Math is worth up to 800 points, then Reading and Writing & Language are combined for up to 800 points. It’s hard for my students to wrap their heads around sometimes.

          2. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I would strongly suspect that if you explain that you’re not from the U.S. (or that you took the ACT instead of the SAT), they adjust the process. That’s normally how this kind of thing works.

            1. Elizabeth H.*

              One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from being in the working world, and just as I’ve gotten older in general, is how a lot of the time things that seem like very rigid guidelines or requirements when you look at them from an outside perspective, can actually be much more flexible and context-dependent when you talk to someone about it.

              1. Myrin*

                Absolutely! I run into this all the time, be it with regards to health insurance, scholarships, or university regulations. There is one very specific question where you can choose from like three answers and I used to become frantic with worry that none of it applied to me and OHMYGODWHATDOIDO?? And then I learned that usually, if you go talk to the people in charge, or call them, or write to them, they’ll usually say “Oh, just pick whatever and write an annotation of two sentences with what you mean” or “Oh, that’s just a formality, it doesn’t actually matter” or somesuch.

                Especially when I started university I was met with like five different deadlines for stuff which were written on the official website in such a way that they could just as well have said “BRING THIS TO ME UNTIL X DATE OR YOU WILL BE TARRED AND FEATHERED FOR ALL ETERNITY!!” and when I couldn’t get ahold of one document I turned up in their office completely frazzled and they were like “that’s no problem, I’ll write that down and you bring it to me until Way Later Date”. It was illuminating.

                1. Turquoise Cow*

                  I suspect a lot of professors write things about really hard deadlines because if they don’t, slackers will turn in everything late. But if you’re a generally good student who turns other things in on time, and you have some emergency, they’ll be flexible. At least that’s been my experience as a generally on-time student in college.

                2. INeedANap*

                  Working at a university – I’ve found that if I don’t give students the I AM A HARD-ASS AND IF IT ISN’T IN ON TIME YOU GET NOTHING AND YOU’LL LIKE IT NO EXCEPTIONS EVER type of deadline, then the majority of them seem to think the deadline is meaningless.

                  I tried being up-front with them early on, saying “Hey, this is when it’s due, but if you have trouble getting X or Y, I can still submit this until [date].”

                  And sure enough, if I said it once about one deadline, they would forever believe it applied to all deadlines. Students just either didn’t take me seriously or didn’t read my instructions unless accompanied by fire and brimstone.

                  So now it’s always TARRED AND FEATHERED. :)

                3. Talvi*

                  I remember when I was in undergrad, because I was doing an honours degree, I had to take one class with the incoming grad students. The prof explicitly told us that deadlines for coursework in grad school are often a lot more flexible than in undergrad because grad students have to deal with things like grant deadlines that aren’t flexible. (Yes, your SSHRC application gets priority over your term paper.)

                4. ket*

                  Agree with other respondents re: flexibility is fine in many cases, but somehow if you say this up front it gets abused so many ways it’s unbelievable. So I too give deadlines to the masters’ students I’m teaching, feel mildly embarrassed when I forget my own deadlines (I’m not going to start grading until the weekend, but it’s a once-a-week class!), and get really annoyed when I give some reasonable student three days of grace and then some unreasonable student comes along and feels that means I should accept a paper a MONTH late, the day before the final exam (after which all grades need to be in within 72 hours). “I’ll put it at the bottom of my grading stack — no problem” is not the same as “Sure I’m happy to grade your extended paper at the same time as 30 finals.” Argh.

                5. many bells down*

                  I had a class with fieldwork that was *required* for your certification. All semester we heard “you MUUUSSSTTT have your fieldwork reports in by X DATE or you will FAIL!!!”

                  My last fieldwork session was two days before the due date – and we were hit by a massive storm that knocked out power and closed the schools for a week. So I had to go into my professor and say, look, this is my fault for leaving this last session until the end, but there’s no way I can do it.

                  She said “oh no problem just do it over the break and give it to me when class resumes.”

              2. Myrin*

                @Turquoise, that’s my experience as well although I didn’t actually mean those cases in my comment. ;)
                That specific example was about an administrative deadline that had to do with switching courses but was technically only university-adjacent. It definitely seemed much more intimidating to Little!My than simply approaching one of my professors about something because these were the ~faceless entity~ with the strict-sounding, highly official scripts in this dark brick building with huge empty corridors.
                Except for the big boss, they all turned out to be just as clueless as the rest of us even about some of their own processes.

            2. Floundering Mander*

              I do wonder sometimes if that is part of why I have never been successful in getting a lower-level “stopgap” job here in the UK. During my PhD study I really wanted a job doing something like part-time data entry or other entry level clerical work that usually called for maths/English GCSEs, but as I moved to the UK after I already had a Master’s degree I don’t have those specific qualifications.

              Of course I always explained where possible that I went to high school in the USA and did four years of what was called Honors English in my school (equivalent to Advanced Placement) as well as the advanced math and science classes (geometry, trigonometry, calculus, physics) but they aren’t exactly the same. But obviously I’m reasonably numerate and literate, since I wrote two theses based on statistical analyses.

              I’ve never had the opportunity to ask an employer if this is a factor but I’ve always wondered if my inability to tick a specific box has hurt me in these applications.

              1. Try Try Again*

                If it’s an online application programme with these requirements then chances are you get automatically screened out by the programme for not having the requirements, yeah. Best thing to do is indicate that you do have them (check the boxes), then explain that you have the US equivalent when you have the opportunity. That way you are likely to be dealing with a human being who can make the exception rather than the programme which is set to auto-eliminate anyone who doesn’t check those boxes.

              2. Akcipitrokulo*

                If they don’t say “GCSE (or equivalent)” then they’re ruling out all Scottish applicants too! If it does just say “GCSE” then I’d tick in and put in notes box that I had the equivalent which is x (O grade/Standard Grade/National 4).

                But be side-eyeing them pretty hard.

            3. Anna*

              This is where I get a little bit on my soapbox about standardized testing being a money grab where companies convince education systems that their tests will show how well their students have learned things. I present as evidence the fact that the SAT market is saturated in the US and they have expanded to the UK, although my understanding is there is a bit more skepticism about it there.

              1. Erin*

                + a million. I saw it first hand when I subbed. In Michigan every single high school junior must take the sat or act in order to graduate high school. So you have students with no college plans drawing penises in the bubbles then taking a nap. My tax dollars at work. I don’t have a problem with offering the test for free to students, but it costs about $50 a student and I think the state would be better off giving crayons and drawing paper to the kids who want to draw genitals.
                Thank god I graduated before that law went into effect.

          3. JessicaC*

            I’m glad you pointed out that asking for a SAT score could discriminate against immigrants, but it is possible to take the SAT outside of the US. My husband went to a bilingual school in South America and took the SAT his last year of high school, knowing he was planning on coming to the US for college.

            1. MashaKasha*

              It really varies. It certainly wasn’t possible when I was in high school, nor did we know what SAT was (Eastern Europe, early 80s).

          4. MashaKasha*

            Came here to say this. I do not have an SAT score, because my high school wasn’t in the US! (whispers) they are welcome to my passing Mensa test score… But I do not have what they are asking for.

        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          It seems like it also screens people out by SES, region, educational pathway, etc. It’s so wildly dumb that it’s giving me a mild case of the rage.

          1. Julianne*

            THIS. I don’t know if the correlation between SES and SAT/ACT scores is as strong as it is for elementary/middle grades standardized tests (I’d imagine it is, but I teach 3rd grade so I’m not up on current SAT/ACT research), but most standardized test scores are just “demographic data in disguise.” (Not my own original words, but I agree with them!)

            1. Justme*

              It is! I did some research on it for a paper last semester. If I can remember where I saved stuff I will get you actual studies and stuff.

          2. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

            And quality of memory. I took the SAT 15ish years ago, just like the LW, and I have no idea what my SAT (or GRE) scores were. I remember them being good, but not great, and good enough for the schools I went to, but damned if I can remember what they were.

            1. blackcat*

              And they (the college board/ETS) gets rid of them after 5 years! So there’s no way to check.

              I *think* I still have paper copies, but I have no idea. SATs were 13ish years ago for me (I did both the 1600 version and 2400 version since I was in the bridge year) and GREs 9 years ago (also took two versions of that one, too!).

              1. Amy*

                That’s not true, they are stored somewhere but you have to pay around $30 to get them. They can’t always find everyone but chances are they are still there. It does generally take several weeks for them to find them.

            2. DeskDuck*

              Exactly. I took the SAT and did well and got into the collage I wanted – and then had no need to remember what my SAT score was ever again. I remember I was happy with it but couldn’t even give you an estimate of what that score was or what it meant. I wouldn’t even have the fist clue where to start looking, because at this point I’ve moved so many times and I know my parents don’t keep that stuff. It probably asked on an online application too – with no good way to tell them I took them but have no idea.

              1. Decima Dewey*

                Were I jobhunting at 61, I’d have an uphill battle as it is. How would my crappy math SAT score from the 1970s possibly be relevant?

            3. the gold digger*

              I remember my SAT scores, my LSAT scores, and my GMAT scores.

              And parts of my Iowa Basic Skills scores from ninth grade. Basically, I stink at knowing what a flattened out box would look like folded up, which is super ironic considering I spent years in the box industry. (Although not as a box designer, which is an actual profession.)

          3. Nonprofit Director*

            This was my thought. I come from a blue-collar family and am very well-educated now, but I started at a local community college and had no need for the SAT.

            1. Anna*

              Same here. I’ve never taken the SAT. I did take the GRE to apply to graduate schools, and I’ve taken the subject-specific GRE, which was more for my department (they used it to determine how well they were teaching the subject matter), but standardized testing in my opinion is a racket.

        4. Susan K*

          Is it really? It’s not that hard to find out someone’s age, in easier and more accurate ways than asking for SAT scores. Merely knowing candidates’ ages doesn’t necessarily mean there is age discrimination in play. It seems more likely that they are using the actual score as some kind of misguided measure of intelligence or thinking skills. Either way, though, it is totally weird for an employer to ask for SAT scores unless you’re applying at, say, a test-prep company (although I have to admit I wouldn’t mind giving my SAT scores because I did really well).

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Yeah, I don’t think it’s typically a deliberate way to discriminate against older workers (although that could end up being the effect). It’s, as you say, a misguided attempt to measure intelligence.

              1. Amy*

                While people from more affluent families areas tend to do better College Board does actually give out tons of free exams through their fee waiver program. There is actually no limit on the number they give out each year anyone who meets the criteria gets one.

                1. Jubilance*

                  But it’s not so much the exam fee that is the barrier, it’s that affluent kids can afford to take expensive test prep classes which teach specific strategies to answer the questions, which non-affluent kids don’t have access to, and thus are at a disadvantage.

                2. Specialk9*

                  Cost is one element, but it’s not really the causative reason why SAT and other tests are so biased towards middle class+ white kids.

                  I rocked my SATs, got free rides to most anywhere I wanted to go. How? Oh, we started taking practice SATs in *sixth grade* at my private all white school. In high school (not _quite_ all white), I had a math SAT tutor for a year – not a math tutor, but a tutor just to help me with the math portions of the SAT. Paid for by my parents, and possible because I wasn’t dependent on bus schedules. I had good food at all meals, lots of parental engagement and encouragement, no lead paint that caused brain damage, good medical coverage.

                  I took the SAT (for the 3rd? 4th? time, to get my scores up) in a rough part of town. Most kids filled out their names, maybe, then put down their heads to sleep.

                  And that doesn’t even get into the very well documented racial biases of the SAT.

                3. Kelly L.*

                  @Jubilance, exactly–a lot of getting a high score on these tests isn’t so much “knowing the material itself” as it is “knowing how the test writers like to write.”

                4. the gold digger*

                  It’s not just the cost of the test (says the person who applied to Rice because there was no application fee at the time).

                  It’s the things they have on the test. I don’t have specific examples, but it’s along the lines of the discussion of taxi medallions in my economics textbook – I had never taken a taxi in my life and had no idea what a medallion was. (Yes, I should have just raised my hand and asked the professor, but I was a timid and an idiot.) If you ask a question that has nothing to do with the test-taker’s culture (my econ prof would joke about rich people clipping coupons and I thought he meant coupons for Tide or Colgate), that person is not going to get the right answer.

                  I can’t remember the details, but a friend who is not a native English speaker was really thrown by an SAT question about railroads or about ferrous something. The word for railroad in Italian is ferrovia and my friend was really thrown by the prefix “ferro.”

                5. bookish*

                  @Jubilance – yes, exactly. I went to fancy SAT prep classes to prepare for mine, and it’s absolutely about teaching strategies for taking this weird test. For me, the more English-y sections were more intuitive (but then again, this is also kind of a Class Thing – for example, I was a real grammar snob in high school and now I’m like “it’s classist to be a jerk about grammar”) but math? If I hadn’t been taught the strategies, I would’ve been lost. Those questions made no sense to me. Like as far as I’m concerned all the math questions were like “If there are ten red jelly beans in a jar, and five blue jelly beans, HOW MANY GUMMY BEARS ARE IN THERE?”

                6. Temperance*

                  @bookish: for what it’s worth, I had kind of the opposite upbringing, but was fortunate that my local high school had SAT prep as an elective. I went to public school, and not a “top rated” one, either. I’m guessing that my school is an outlier, because we also had a driving class for free.

                7. mrs__peel*

                  @ the gold digger-

                  There was a famous example where kids were asked to write an essay discussing the merits of real maple syrup versus fake maple syrup.

                  I live in a city with incredibly high rates of child poverty, where some schools have 95-100% of the kids eligible for free lunch. There are plenty of smart kids in the district, but I doubt VERY MUCH that most of their parents are shelling out $15-20 for real maple syrup.

                  Even very bright kids are at a huge disadvantage taking tests that require that kind of middle/upper class cultural knowledge.

                8. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

                  Most research indicates the SAT is highly correlated with SES—in particular, with the ability to take test prep and the amount of prep consumed. When I took the exam, all else equal, for every additional $10K in household income your family earned, your score increased by about 100 points. That correlation had nothing to do with the fee waiver, GPA, or “competitiveness” of one’s high school, and from what I understand, it’s more extreme, now.

                  The fee waivers, etc., are a barrier (College Board is extremely stingy about how people have to prove that they qualify for a waiver, and it often requires documentation that is difficult to provide without a supportive adult in your life), but they’re not the primary one.

            1. neverjaunty*

              I’m sure there are other dumb motivations. But it is something done by companies that don’t want to hire “olds”.

              1. Morning Glory*

                But the last class of students who took the old 1600-scale SAT are only 29, which would be young for a director-level position, regardless. So I don’t think this will be a good way to weed out the ‘olds’ for another few years.

                1. Rusty Shackelford*

                  This. Unless they ask you to turn in your official scores (which would indicate when you took the test) I don’t see how they could possibly be using this for age discrimination.

                2. blackcat*

                  @Rusty, unless you still have a paper copy of your official scores, there is no way to get them more than 5 (maybe 10) years after the fact. The college board does not keep records indefinitely.

                  More likely, the “olds” (read, older than 25) are much less likely to remember their SAT scores. That’s not a given (my dad still remembers his, but I don’t remember mine), but seems probable.

                3. Turquoise Cow*

                  if the college board doesn’t keep the records, how will the employer know if you make something up? Put something ridiculously high and they’ll never know.

                4. Knights Who Say Knit*

                  Yes, the only possible way I could see this being used for age discrimination is to discriminate against younger people, not older people— it would be a good, if slightly silly, way to weed out employees in their 20s/(some subset of) Millenials. But I was in one of the last cohorts to take the 1600-point SAT and I just turned 30, which is way to young to qualify as an Old, and also still very much a Millenial.

                  I think that wanting to know how many points the score is out of serves a much more practical purpose, which is to actually understand what the scores mean— 1590 out of 1600 is an outstanding score; 1590 out of 2400 is a mediocre one.

                  The whole thing is still very silly, as has been said over and over in this thread— the SAT doesn’t tell you much about an adult’s ability to perform a job, and it is discriminatory on the basis of race and class (and, I might add, disability as well). It seems like a ham-fisted way to find out applicants’ intelligence, but I can’t think of a reason that knowing someone’s IQ or the equivalent would be relevant as long as they are good at the job and can l the required tasks. Not to mention that the SAT people no longer claim that it measures intelligence per se, and I can’t think of anyone else who does either. MENSA only accepts SAT scores from prior to 1994 for membership. So even if IQ wasn’t, IMO, meaningless for pretty much every job, SAT scores only correlate with IQ for applicants older than 40 or so.

            2. Myrin*

              Yeah, we have to put our dates of birth in the CV in my country – obviously the most straightforward way to learn about someone’s age – and there are still positions where they want you to name your final grade of school or university or whatnot. They wouldn’t need to do that if it were about finding out someone’s age.

            3. Mookie*

              But is the intent important when such obvious and reasonable objections exist? Standardized testing of general knowledge is just not a useful metric for screening and hiring candidates for the majority of jobs, so there’s less good reason to ignore all the other reasons this practice is wasteful and counterproductive for the purposes of recruiting high quality staff.

              GPAs and Latin honors have also been inflated over the years (in addition to eliminating / reducing curved grades), which benefits younger applicants, and while university has become less affordable and accessible for some Americans, a greater percentage of younger cohorts will earn or get close to earning a degree than their generational antecedents.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                No, the intent definitely doesn’t matter when there are such obvious reasons not to do it. But I was responding to a comment that said it’s a deliberate way to screen out older workers, and someone else who asked “is it really?” And the answer to that is, no, it’s really not typically a deliberate attempt to do that. Bad for lots of other reasons, but not usually that nefarious.

            4. Florida*

              It’s definitely an attempt to measure intelligence. Recently, the state of Florida gave bonuses to public school teachers based on their SAT scores. We’re talking veteran teachers who took the exam 15-25 years ago. The name of this program…Best and Brightest

              Not only is the SAT a misguided attempt at measuring intelligence, but intelligence is not the best indicator of a good employee. I’m sure we’ve all known brilliant people who were terrible employees and vice versa.

              1. SarcasticFringehead*

                Haha, yeah – I did very well on standardized tests as a child/teenager, and mostly what that means to me is that I work best in structured environments with very clear guidelines. That’s great information for me to have when I’m job searching, but it doesn’t automatically make me a good (or bad) employee, and there are other, less potentially-judgmental ways to communicate that information.

            5. Mockingjay*

              I am baffled as to how a test that I took when I was 16 or 17 indicates what kind of worker I will be.

              Surely I have learned something in the last 35 years that will be more pertinent to the role.

              (Oddly, I do remember my score, because I took it 3 times trying to improve it. I ended up scoring within 5-10 points of the original score. All that proves is that I can study for a test.)

          2. ramonaflowers89*

            I work at a test-prep company and I would have been laughed out of my office if I included my SAT and/or GRE scores on my resume. All of us in the test-prep industry know standardized tests are terrible at measuring intelligence – probably the MCAT is somewhat better because it’s much more content-based, but even the material they test on is not really covered in med school. Standardized test companies make these tests because they can sell the premise of them to politicians and administrators who have no idea how to measure content knowledge. Basically my job is to reassure stressed-out students and families that these tests are a load of hooey and that struggling with these exams does not mean they’re stupid or will never go to college/grad/med/law/business school.

            1. NotAnotherManager!*

              I have a coworker who does LSAT prep and she was required to post her score and a copy of the score report (address/contact info redacted) on her profile on the company website.

              1. ramonaflowers89*

                For actual standardized test teachers and tutors who are going to instruct our students, having their prior scores is important. (But again, scoring well on a standardized test does not mean you are automatically good at teaching it.) But just working for the test-prep industry in a non-instructor capacity like I am? No, they do not need our scores just like OP1’s company does not need her scores and the people in the field know how crap these tests are and would never ask for them from non-instructor staff. I am just saying the test-prep companies themselves aren’t like, ALL of our employees have scored at least a 1500 on the SAT!

            2. mrs__peel*

              The LSAT also bears zero relation to any material actually covered in law school. Fortunately, as a practicing attorney, I’ve never had to divide people up into 12 volleyball teams.

              1. sap*

                Yeah, it mystifies me that logic puzzles are still on the LSAT. I understand why some of the other reasoning sections are on there. Whether or not I agree with the way the LSAT tests it, “read this passage, what is the argument?” is obviously trying to approximate “read this case, what is its holding?” Which is all of law school, same with “read this passage. How do you apply what it says to these facts?” Which is what all of Law School standard type exams are. But “make a diagram of how these things relate to eachother, determine how these other things relate to eachother by process of elimination” has absolutely nothing to do with either law school testing, law school teaching, or anything lawyers do as part of their job.

              2. nonegiven*

                I’m culturally disadvantaged. I have no idea how many people are on a volleyball team or how it is played or scored.

        5. VioletEMT*

          Yup. I work in tech and my employer does this. Scores (and your bachelors GPA) required no matter how much work experience you have. It’s ridiculous and the company has a rep in town for not hiring anyone over 30.

        6. Stranger than fiction*

          How? Do they ask for the year they were taken, or can they tell by what scoring was used? (I didn’t take them. My dad told me not to because I’d be going to community college first.)
          Either way, I think it’s dumb. And I’m sure 15 years later most people wouldn’t be able to score as high anyhow (no offense Op).

        7. mrs__peel*

          It also seems like a good way to screen out people who didn’t grow up in upper/middle income families (i.e., the ones who could pay for test prep).

          1. Zip Zap*

            Right. Or an excuse to use if you’re rejecting someone for any kind of questionable reason (assuming they didn’t get a perfect score). Or to justify a hiring decision if the person had good scores but seemed under-qualified in other ways.

            It could just be that they like to collect a lot of data on applicants for higher level positions. Some companies operate that way. They might not be paying much attention to the scores. But if they are, it is weird.

      2. Annonymouse*

        Your SAT/UAI/TAI* whatever we call them stops being relevant either the instant you get a job or once you get accepted into university.

        If you get a degree your GPA matters … until you get a job.

        Once you get a job your experience matters and it’s all that should matter. Does the fact I scored X on my exams 15 years ago really have any relevance if you aren’t hiring for internships or entry level positions with no experience required?

        (*where I’m from the score is also based on percentage of people you out scored)

        1. Sarianna*

          One minor exception to GPA not mattering once you get a job–if you decide to pursue further education, like a master’s or Ph.D in the same field, it may become relevant again on those applications. (I spent some time considering this option and ‘minimum GPA/equivalent’ was listed at both of the schools I was considering.) Otherwise totally agreed!

          1. Anna*

            Some schools are willing to flex on GPA stuff is you’re returning for a graduate degree, though, because they recognize that what you were getting when you were in college 5/10/however many years ago is not necessarily a reflection on how well you’d do now that you’re a bit more mature and have some work experience.

          2. Annonymouse*

            That’s assuming that you’re using your degree to get a job I.e marketing.

            Of course if you’re pursuing further education then it matters quite a bit.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        My niece worked as an SAT tutor when she was 19 or 20. I can’t see it being relevant to any job beyond that one, though.

      4. CheeryO*

        I am definitely Exhibit A for why this is not a good idea – I was a freakishly good standardized test taker in high school, and the SAT perfectly played to my strengths as a student, but I’m definitely just an average employee. If anyone expected me to be a high performer based solely on my SAT score, they would be disappointed!

        1. Buffay the Vampire Layer*

          Same. I’m good at standardized tests and also lazy. I got a good score without studying or retaking. An employer relying on that to hire would probably be disappointed when my lazy ass shows up on the job.

      5. Recovering Adjunct*

        I never took them. I also never finished high school. But I have a terminal degree and a thriving career that’s 15+ years established. I don’t know what I would do with this request.

      6. Wintermute*

        The SAT has enough well-known problems that I almost wonder if this isn’t very sneaky racism: “oh I know we don’t want any minorities, but we have to LOOK like we’re not tossing all the minority resumes in the trash, lets put inordinate weight on a test with well-publicized cultural bias issues, and set the mark high!”

    2. RaccoonLady*

      I took mine fairly recently- 2011, I believe? When I took it then it was 2500, but the 2400 is including the written essay. Without the essay it’s still 1600- 800 for math, 800 for verbal. Unless it’s been changed again!

      1. Small but Fierce*

        I also took it in 2010-2011 and it was like that for me too. I usually left out the writing score when people asked what I scored, especially since our state-sponsored scholarship did not include the writing score in their criteria for receiving the scholarship. I couldn’t tell you my score out of 2400, but I still remember my score out of 1600.

      2. MashaKasha*

        My kids took theirs in 2010 and 2013 and it was a max of 2400 for both. So it must’ve changed back to 1600 really recently.

        1. Kyrielle*

          I Googled because this was driving me nuts with curiosity. (I took the old 1600, my kids are under 10, and I was completely unaware there *was* a 2400.)

          Looks like it returned to 1600 in 2016, but is still more like the 2400 test in content, except the reading/writing sections are now one section.

    3. Elizabeth H.*

      I feel like it’s not possible to emphasize strongly enough how incredibly weird and ridiculous it is that an employer would ask for SAT scores!! SATs stop being interesting or relevant to anyone in this world about two weeks after you start college.

    4. kittymommy*

      I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what my score was 20+ years ago. Heck i didn’t even know they changed it at one time. This just seems really stupid.

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I took it 15 years ago, twice. I could tell you what my highest combined score was (because some of the colleges I applied to let you do that) but I couldn’t tell you what each score was individually. And I can’t even remember if I took the ACTs.

    5. MCMonkeyBean*

      Yeah, I don’t think asking to specify whether it’s out of 1600 or 2400 is age discrimination in any way because they’ve gone back and forth–presumably it’s so they know if you put 1300 whether to consider that a good score.

      But it’s still definitely weird to ask for it!

      1. Gaia*

        I don’t think it is age discrimination either. Heck it would be hard to make it age discrimination because how do you discriminate based on age when it seems to go back and forth. If my top score is 1600 I could have taken it yesterday or I could have taken it 30 years ago.

        I think it is just dumb.

    6. The IT Manager*

      I doubt this is being used on purpose to covertly discriminate. You don’t actually want a just out of school director.

      This is someone (who probably got a great score) thinking it’s an important discriminator and influencing the whole hiring process so it’s a mandatory item for the company. Who knows maybe they’ve created a culture where people who grow up in the company do think it means something about your ability to do a good job.

      1. Anna*

        I’m (probably unfairly) suspicious of anyone who places that much weight on something they accomplished in high school unless they graduated 1 or 2 years ago.

      2. Wintermute*

        oh I think it is being used to discriminate, but not on age. The SAT has well-publicized cultural bias issues, to the degree that college admissions are increasingly de-emphasizing or even ignoring them altogether.

        what do you do if you don’t want to hire minorities but don’t want to risk a suit? Use a test with serious racial biases, but that appears to be facially neutral to an outside observer, it gives you just enough plausible deniability when people ask why not one person from a minority or lower-class background was in your final interview round.

    7. bookish*

      I took the SAT during that 2400 point window and when I heard they were bringing it back to 1600 I thought “so I’ll just look SUPER smart like I scored a ton of extra points?” (jokingly, of course)

      The SAT is questionable as a measure of… what, intelligence?? knowledge??… anyway, and I’m pretty sure it’s been shown that the best indicator of how you’ll do on the test is mostly just if you come from a well-off family who could afford to send you to an intensive SAT prep class that trains you how to take this specific test. It’s a weird test. And I say this as someone who not only scored well, but actually walked out of my SAT saying “Hey, that was kind of fun! I don’t know what I was so worried about.” But basically a preeeettyy small group of people control how much weight we put on the SAT and what type of questions go into it, if I remember correctly (like, for example, I think when all the UC colleges were going to drop it as a requirement, that’s when the panic set in and they changed the scoring to the 2400 model. But again, it’s been a while since I’ve thought about this!)

      What I’m saying is, yes, it’s super weird that a company is asking for this, many years out from when the candidate would have taken the SAT. It feels like either a kind of random misguided addition to the application, or a weird academic-elitist sort of thing. As far as I’m concerned, the only job that should ask you about this should be like… SAT prep tutor.

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        Right, I was one of those who did well on standardized tests. I took an SAT prep course, but I honestly don’t think it did much to help me, I got about the same score on the SAT’s that I did on the pre-SAT’s. I don’t think I’m smarter than the average bear, just good at standardized tests.

      2. anon for now*

        It’s culturally biased so intelligence testing is out for the SAT. Yes, socioeconomic status is also indicative of how well one does on the SAT. But you can also read free books on SAT prep in a Barnes and Noble or rent them from a library.
        The SAT test measures how well you can take the SAT test, but not much else.

        1. Wintermute*

          I think you hit it on the head, in this application the cultural bias isn’t a bug, it’s the feature. They can appear facially neutral while excluding minorities by putting an odd amount of weight on a test with serious bias issues.

      3. Samata*

        I think it’s an indicator of how well you test. Not knowledge, not socio-economic status and certainly not how well you will do in a job 20 years later.

        I took the SAT twice. In 7th grade (my middle school did some thing where I could take it and they paid for it) and again in 11th. I did pretty well – both times. I don’t remember exact score, but that was when it was a 1600 score and I know both were over 1200.

        I in no way shape or form prepped and definitely couldn’t afford a prep course. For the one in 11th grade I remember I had a cold and forgot my calculator. I am just good at tests.

        I also struggled like crazy in my 1st job that wasn’t task-driven.

        1. MashaKasha*

          Yes, this. I test well. It’s what I do. It’s not a skill that is widely applicable in real life. Nothing to be super proud of!

          1. Gaia*

            Me too. I did literally no prep and did not take the PSATs. I scored well. Not the very top, of course, but well enough that I was a candidate for some pretty decent SAT-score based scholarships. Does that mean I had mastered those topics? No. It means I test well

        2. Risha*

          I took the pre-SAT and the SAT once each, no prep at all, and got a 1250(?) and a 1390 respectively (which was clearly more than good enough for any school my crappy grades would qualify for). And that is 100% due to that I test incredibly well, and even more specifically test well in reading/vocabulary and math. If there had been a science section, I would have been sunk.

    8. Where's the Le-Toose?*

      Just to out myself, I took the SAT twice–in 1986 and 1987. I have no idea what it was and I imagine it would be a total pain to find out my scores. I don’t even remember my LSAT score for law school.

      The fact that this is for a director position makes this such a huge red flag regarding this company that I’d honestly withdraw my application. To me it shows a lack of skill at the executive management level. If this idea came from the CEO, it’s mind boggling that someone running the company thinks SAT scores are a valid measurement of success instead of the OP’s 15 years in the industry. And if this came from a manager or HR run amok, then you wonder about the oversight at this company and whether as a director, you will have any support from executive management when trying to reward good employees and weed out weak performers. This company is either really weird or out to lunch. Neither one would be a good fit for me, even though my wife thinks I’m weird from time to time.

    9. 2mc1pg*

      I may be wrong, but I believe SAT is one of the proxies for IQ. Commentariat, please correct me if that’s not the case.

      At least that’s what I was once told by someone on Mensa, for what it’s worth. Apparently the SAT is a near proxy for results in IQ tests? Or is believed to be, by some people?

      I have taken both, and they are not similar to each other. A day long pen and paper exam versus a multi-day interactive discussion exam with one person. So I’m not certain how those who believe SAT is a proxy for IQ tests draw that conclusion. This is just a theory I’m throwing out there. Perhaps someone at the company believes they’re getting some sort of hidden inside scoop on candidates intellectual capabilities.

      1. PersephoneUnderground*

        This is such a perfect example of “consider the source”. Mensa members won’t tell you that IQ tests are also considered widely useless except in a few very limited applications in psychology (I think they were originally invented to measure child development progress, and may still be used for that, also “intelligence” is incredibly broad and almost impossible to define or measure properly), so if SAT tests have similar results then they have similar problems of being bad measurement tools. So saying it’s similar to/proxy for an IQ test isn’t a positive thing.

        I think it’s kinda like BMI (body mass index) – scientists (or in IQ test’s cases, psychologists) use it occasionally but it’s well known to have massive issues as a measurement tool and is widely discredited, but they don’t have that many other tools to measure this so they stick with what they have while being hugely aware of its limits. (In the BMI case the best way to tell involves floating in a tank of water to figure out your density, which is a bit involved and the procedure is very expensive, though apparently even caliper fat measurements are more accurate than BMI, which is hilarious. /end random unrelated example).

        1. Lora*

          Yup. Original intent was to identify young children who needed special education, which children were precocious and which were fine in a regular classroom.

          It’s been through several iterations to make it more culture-neutral but still leaves a lot to be desired. There were some amusing changes – cartoons of a face “missing something” and the answer was supposed to be , I forget what, a mouth or something, and a group of Japanese children all said, “eyebrows!” which was also true.

          I get the impression when people send me those “take this quiz to see if you’re a genius” and “puzzles for smart people” things that it’s not actually how genius people think, because certainly the geniuses I know and have read about don’t think about this crap ever, but it’s more a caricature of how child psychologists imagine geniuses must think. The answer is always either “prime numbers”, “pretzel”, “Alec Baldwin”, or “Leviticus”.

          1. Chicken Superhero*

            Pretty much every test for genius someone sends you is an attempt to steal your private data, or to get social media views.

        2. Knights Who Say Knit*

          In addition to this, as I commented above, MENSA only accepts SAT scores prior to 1994 for membership— IQ is silly and flawed and discriminatory and it’s ridiculous to ask for it on a job application, but even if that wasn’t true, your SAT scores don’t even work as a proxy for IQ for anyone under 40, according to MENSA’s standards.

      2. SusanIvanova*

        Last time I looked (which was decades ago) Mensa accepted the top 2% in a wide range of standardized intelligence tests, without making any claims about their relationship to each other. But top 2% is 1 out of 50 in a random group of people, it’s really not that rare. The TV idea that a team of scientists would brag about Mensa is way off – more likely they’re all so over-qualified for it they wouldn’t even care.

    10. Free Meerkats*

      I knew I wasn’t going to college immediately after high school, so I didn’t take the SAT. After 7 years in the Navy, I used my training there to get my job, so I never went to college and thus, didn’t bother taking the SAT then.

      Besides, there’s no way I’d remember what they were after that many years. Maybe this idiotic company would accept my ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) scores? Of course, I don’t remember those, either.

    11. Former Hoosier*

      I hadn’t even considered that SAT scores could be used to screen out older workers although I would say that for most people just asking for transcripts would do that.

      I took the SAT over 30 years ago and literally have no idea what my scores were or how to find them now. And I would withdraw an application from a company that asked me to provide them.

      Additionally, I do remember that my scores weren’t strong (I assume you would remember if you got a high score) but I have three graduate degrees with a GPA of 3.9 in each which is a far stronger indicator of my abilities at this point and would be available if requesting my transcripts.

  2. Leah*

    Can I suggest a worst HR of the year award alongside the worst boss award? It seems like there have been a lot of contenders.

    1. Sherm*

      Ha, I was just thinking “If the blog had a Worst HR of the Year award, they should be nominated.” They would tie with the HR from a while back who made an employee check in every time she needed to use the bathroom.

    2. kittymommy*

      On too of being uber posses that hr lied and hit the possibility of violence in the workplace, I’d also be rather insulted they would think I’d believe such a bad reason. Because of the hurricane? In a state unaffected by the hurricane? Hell i was in the hurricane and my organization was a lead in emergency management for it and we didn’t have police presence. Did they really expect employees to believe that???

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        It really is egregiously insulting.

        Especially when you consider that Florida put our official notices on not shooting the hurricane, as this is ineffective and the bullets do land somewhere.

      2. Emergency Planner*

        I work in emergency management, and I assure you we think a lot about workplace violence and active shooter. The fact that they hid an ongoing Active Shooter event from you is of grave concern to me. Why?

        Because it doesn’t give people the chance to RUN or HIDE (eg barricade a door and get behind a file cabinet) and because that’s HOW EMPLOYEES GET SHOT by the SWAT team by accident.

        If you look at the govt active shooter guidance (link in next comment), it all stresses how important it is to be utterly non threatening to the police. They’re keyed up and inclined to be trigger happy, and the shooter usually is a fellow employee who blends in, especially if they drop the gun.

        When there is an active shooter situation, you must drop everything in your hands, hold your hands up, and above all don’t scream and try to cling to them, even though you’ll want to. (Imagine if you were defending your home from intruders and how threatening that behavior would seem.)

        The fact that they lied to you during the situation is NOT ACCEPTABLE. The fact that they lied to you *after* is about trust, and learn your lesson about the company and how trustworthy it is, but that is not as much a safety concern.

        Some options to address this:
        *If you can get a group together, talk to HR. (I wouldn’t paint a target if it’s just you.)
        *Call your state congressperson.
        *Create an anonymized Facebook and Twitter account, put a carefully factual account up, and link to the company and local news.

        1. Decima Dewey*

          At the very least, request Active Shooter Training. My library system insists on it for certain job classes, including security guards. Our branch even has a phrase to use in the event of one occurring here. The phrase is something innocuous sounding, so as not to tip off the shooter that we know. Each of us is supposed to know two places to exit the building or to hide if we can’t get out.

        2. Chinook*

          ” it all stresses how important it is to be utterly non threatening to the police. They’re keyed up and inclined to be trigger happy, and the shooter usually is a fellow employee who blends in, especially if they drop the gun.”

          The trigger happiness in this case would not the usual “shot while being black” trigger happiness either (which is so very much not right). The cops in an active shooter scenario know that they are walking targets just by being there and are more likely to shoot first, ask questions later because they believe that someone is going to shoot back, they want to get out alive and body armour only covers part of the body and doesn’t stop all types of bullets. They have to look at every person as potentially hostile unless those people are actively showing non-threatening body language (like showing empty hands and following directions without question). So not being told about this scenario can endanger your life because, in that split second the cop has to make the decision to pull a trigger, that cellphone could look like a gun.

          1. Specialk9*

            Exactly. All of this.

            And people act weird when officers in full SWAT gear and rifles show up, especially if guns are pointed at them. (It’s one of the scariest feelings.) A heads up on the situation can head off panicked poor decision making like getting mouthy or screaming and flailing.

          2. BF50*

            There is also this little nugget from my work’s active shooter training.

            The swat guys sweep in a tight v formation. If you panic and grab them and they realize you are not a threat, you are likely to pull them down on top of you. That would be 200 lbs of swat guy, plus maybe another 100+ lbs of gear. Remember the tight V? The guy in front falling may trip up the guys in back, some of whom may also fall on you. You will get hurt. You will also stop the swat team from doing their job.

          3. Elizabeth West*

            Yep yep yep. This is also why it’s a HORRIBLE idea to whip out your concealed-carry weapon in an active shooter situation. Because you’re automatically the shooter until they know otherwise, and that may not be until after you’re already dead.

            Sorry, gun nerds; unless you have up-to-date law enforcement tactical training (and as a civilian you won’t), you are NOT the equivalent of a police officer.

      3. Turquoise Cow*

        I’m not sure what police presence would do in the case of a hurricane. Surely they have better things to do?

      1. AcademiaNut*

        I would think that if they required an SAT score to be hired, they could get caught under discriminating on the basis of national origin.

        1. JamieS*

          I don’t know about discrimination based on national origin but I think it could result in racial discrimination since non-Asian minorities score lower on average than white people.

          1. finderskeepers*

            I don’t see how this is true. I mean, I’m sure they also educational attainment but that doesn’t keep employers from requiring a BS/BA or MS/MA

            1. blackcat*

              You’re more likely to run into a disparate impact issue with SAT scores, since they can’t reasonably be considered a requirement (like a degree), and they are so strongly correlated with race.

            2. JamieS*

              Yes that’s true but most employers just ask candidates to have a degree they don’t screen out by GPA which would be more similar to screening by SAT scores. Also a college degree is a reasonable requirement and SAT scores are not.

          2. Where's the Le-Toose?*

            This happens all the time with employer’s requiring a 4-year college degree for a job that doesn’t require a 4-year college degree.

            My wife started her career in Europe, promoted to a position here in the U.S. where we met, and she did procurement for 20 years with a Fortune 100 company, negotiating multi-million dollar contracts. She doesn’t have a 4-year college degree, only a high school diploma. She got caught up in a round of layoffs, and has spent the last 2 years looking after our son.

            But she’s interested in going back to work as our son approaches school age. Every procurement job in our area requires a 4-year degree, and my wife is proof that a 4-year degree isn’t needed for that job. When she contacts HR for open jobs, they dig their heals in and say the degree is a minimum requirement. It seems that the only thing to do is appeal to an executive or hiring manager at the company to waive the requirement.

            1. Ophelia Bumblesmoop*

              This is such a common issue with a work culture that relies on a piece of paper instead of actual knowledge. It’s one of the reasons I am filing for an AS this semester and then finishing my BS next year. The more pieces of paper, the more money I get paid under my current employer’s system. My BS should include the AS bonus, but it doesn’t. Might as well file both.

            2. JanetM*

              My mother-in-law had been a very successful bank branch manager for years. Her small local bank was bought out by a larger statewide bank, at which time she was told that she was obviously not qualified to be a branch manager, since she didn’t have an MBA.

              Their generous offer was that instead of firing her, they would let her take a cashier position. Over time, she was able to work her way back up to customer service associate, the position from which she eventually retired.

              1. Charlotte Collins*

                Wouldn’t it have made more sense for them to give her tuition reimbursement to get an MBA?

                Oh wait, I bet they had somebody all lined up for the position already…

      2. finderskeepers*

        Foreign universities also have grades, and there are companies that provide ceritified “translations” of foreign transcripts.

        And even US universities don’t always use 4.0 scale. One of the top public US graduate schools uses a 9.0 scale

        1. mrs__peel*

          I had a hell of a time explaining to my US college (after returning from a year at a UK university) that “No, a 70% is *GOOD*, actually!” They were extremely suspicious.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      Ironically, my former employer also established a minimum GPA. Several high performing managers and senior engineers would not qualify for their own jobs based on HR criteria.
      For many jobs, HR is incapable of assessing someone’s qualifications. So they establish silly filters so they can look like they are filtering “unqualified” candidates. It’s all theatre.

      1. Five after Midnight*

        For many jobs, HR is incapable of assessing someone’s qualifications. So they establish silly filters so they can look like they are filtering “unqualified” candidates. It’s all theatre.

        ^ This. Plus a good dose of CYA. If you have an “objective” criteria, you are less likely to have to explain your decisions. God forbid you selected someone without 3.5GPA who can actually do the job better than 99% of other candidates and had to justify your choice.

        1. Gandalf the Nude*

          It actually has the opposite effect of a CYA if they’ve grandfathered in anyone. They can’t credibly argue that the GPA is a reliable indicator of ability to perform and thus a reasonable requirement if they already have and have kept people on staff who are performing well without the newly required GPA. And if the newly required GPA has a disparate impact on any any protected group? Bye, Felicia.

      2. Artemesia*

        When I was in college at giant state flag ship University, the average GPA for men was 2.4 and for women 2.6. These days. the averages are closer to 3.5 in many schools. And grade inflation is even greater in private universities. So the 50 year old is likely to have a much lower GPA for that reason alone.

        All ridiculous. There are certain people who are obsessed with this sort of thing long after it is irrelevant (if it ever was) I remember dates in grad school who managed to work in their SAT scores on a first date — great screening tool LOL. Apparently these dipsticks have gotten into positions of power in this company.

        1. Engineer Girl*

          Yes, GPAs were at least a full point lower 30 years ago. Which is why they now need internships as discriminators. It also filters people that worked their way through school Vs those that had mommy and daddy pay for it. So it would have disparate impact on certain groups.
          We had some people announce that they were Mensa members. That made them subjects of ridicule among most of the other aero engineers.
          Tell me about something relevant – like what you designed or what you did with all that potential.
          Because really, SAT scores and GPAs are merely indicators of someone’s potential. Your resume of achievements, on the other hand, is potential fulfilled.

          1. MashaKasha*

            lol, I’m a member and I would not put that on my resume if someone held a loaded gun to my head and told me to. Well, in that case maybe I would, but I’d do it with the full knowledge that this resume will get me zero interviews. I agree, none of these scores and grades from way back when are relevant. People want to know what you will bring to the team in terms of getting work done.

          2. Case of the Mondays*

            Internships are not always discriminators. For me, my internships were equalizers. My parents didn’t go to college and I didn’t have any connections. My school had a program where you interned in lieu of a regular course load one semester (so it cut into classes, not paid work) and also a service learning program where you could volunteer in lieu of a term paper. The time I would spend researching and writing said paper was spent volunteering. Those experiences gave me contacts in the professional world. People that could tell me about the norms of the working world, people that could serve as references and people that could tell me about job leads – even people that would put in a good word for me informally. It was the best thing that ever happened to me career wise.

            1. Erin*

              Internships are also a wealth thing. I never had a support network to support me I work 40 hours a week for free. I couldn’t do a major where I had to do an internship. It’s a big reason why I didn’t get my education degree, I can’t work 2 semesters in a classroom all day for free.

          3. Here we go again*

            Some people are fortunate to have parents that can afford to pay for their kids school. Other parents just make sacrifices so they can save for college…. It doesn’t make those people spoiled or entitled or bratty, just lucky. Can we please not belittle those people for having that privilege?

            1. Temperance*

              I don’t see the comment as belittling even a bit. If you’re fortunate enough to have an education handed to you, I feel like you can also take a mildly snarky comment from those of us who aren’t so fortunate.

              1. MashaKasha*

                As a parent, and also a former college student who’d at one point almost flunked out of college because of a full-time job (I was 18 and stupid and it never occurred to me that working a 2nd shift that started an hour before my classes ended and ended at midnight, at a place that had a 30+ min commute, would be a problem), I tried to make sure my kids wouldn’t have to work so much to stay in school that they’d end up dropping out. So yeah, I paid for one and am paying for the other. I admit I am fortunate to have an income that allows me to afford the pay. And both kids met me halfway by taking advantage of their AP credits, testing out of classes, receiving merit scholarships as best they could, and going to the cheapest state schools (I didn’t want them to, but both insisted). So yeah, still pretty fortunate I guess. I saw the above comment as the filtering on GPA being unfair to the people who *had* to work their way through school to the point where it affected their grades… No argument there.

              2. Here we go again*

                You don’t think “… people that worked their way through school Vs those that had mommy and daddy pay for it,” is belittling?

                Some people have parents that choose to take fancy vacations, drive fancy cars, have fancy phones and fancy electronics. Other parents recognize that in the long run, that doesn’t mean squat. I didn’t have cable growing up, my parents didn’t buy me a car in high school, virtually every item of clothing I owned was purchased from the clearance rack, but they saved and SACRIFICED for my education. It wasn’t handed to me. It came with giving up a lot and missing out on other things.

                1. MashaKasha*

                  And other people cannot save up for what today’s college education costs, because they just do not have the income. Not because they drive new BMWs and, I don’t know, eat avocados. We cut the cable when my youngest was in HS, my oldest didn’t have a car until he desperately needed one at 20, my youngest inherited my dad’s rusted clunker when dad passed away, everyone dressed from sales and thrift stores, and my income is way higher the national median family income (which is what a lot of families have to work with when budgeting for their kids’ college). And we still would not have been able to afford a private or an out-of-state college. I admit to splurging on two things when they were in HS: 1) divorcing their father 2) buying a small old house in the same school district. That blew through all of my savings. And like I said, I’m more privileged than most. Can we not parent-shame here, maybe?

                2. Anna*

                  Well, it was handed to you. Your parents made sacrifices, but it doesn’t sound like you went without to get an education. Your parents made the sacrifices so you wouldn’t have to, which is wonderful. And I’d also point out the idea of choosing to take “fancy vacations, drive fancy cars” etc. is just as dismissive and belittling. The idea being that if you ever went on a single vacation, then your parents didn’t love you enough to sacrifice for your education?

                3. Here we go again*

                  I recognize that some people just cannot afford to afford to help out with their kid’s education no matter what they sacrificed. I just resent this notion that some parents just hand their kids everything because they helped pay for their college. My reference to “fancy vacations” and “fancy cars” was this idea that it’s an all or nothing thing… Some people choose to save money for education, others choose to save money for fancy vacations. Sadly, few people can afford both with the way incomes are these days.

                4. Dinosaur*

                  The problem with the argument that you missed out on vacations and cable and therefore aren’t “privileged” is that employers don’t screen out applicants for not having gone to Yellowstone or Disneyland. It’s fantastic that your family was able to save and sacrifice for your future, but many many people did that same level of sacrificing just to keep the lights and water on. Having parents pay for college is a privilege, no matter how they did so.

              3. TootsNYC*

                Not belittling?

                Then why the choice of the words “mommy and daddy”?

                If that was a neutral, non-judgmental comment, it would be “parents” or “mom and dad.”

                1. Engineer Girl*

                  You’re right it was snarky. I was just thinking back to all the people hat had 100% of their education paid for and did not realize that it was a privilege. As in I had a 3.8 GPA so I’m a better employee than the guy that was married with kids and put himself through school and “only” had a 2.8 GPA.
                  One of the problems with privilege is that people don’t recognize they have it. And they don’t recognize the advantages it gives them.

            2. Thank you*

              Just, well, thanks. We without a lot when I was a kid – including 2 years without a home. But my parents were able to save enough for me to commute to local public college without having to take out loans.

        2. Mike C.*

          That highly depends on the private school. The one I went to had nearly no grade inflation over the past 60 years.

          1. Specialk9*

            Duke is really really proud of giving bad grades. ‘We’re not an Ivy, but we have moral superiority!’ for resisting grade inflation. :D

          2. Slippy*

            Purdue also has very little grade inflation. Their tactic seems to be “we will let almost anyone in and see if you can hack it.” Freshman Physics major have their own personal circle of hell though.

        3. MashaKasha*

          Oh good point, I went to a really strong school in my home country and the exams were really strict, the failure rate was very high. A lot of people failed out of the school. At least for a 1-2nd year student, a 3 out of 5 was an acceptable grade on a final exam, a 4 was pretty darn good. A 5 was close to impossible to get on a final. I’d be laughed out of any American HR office with my college with the GPA that I have, luckily no one ever asked.

          1. Chinook*

            Up here in Alberta, every high school student takes provincial exams in their core subjects that count for 30 to 50% of their mark (It just recently dropped to 30%, before it was 50%) that are created by Alberta teachers to reflect the curriculum and are multiple choice, long answer and essay type. It means that grade inflation is very difficult over time because a given teacher would have to explain why their course marks deviated from the exam marks (they should be within 5 percentage points if they are grading to the provincial standard). It also means that my 80% mark from a school where I was 1 of 7 students graduating meant the exact same thing as the 80% earned by a student at the prestigious academic school in the city. It has made me a firm believer in well written, localized standardized exams. But, even then they only test for knowledge, not your ability to apply said knowledge.

            1. Talvi*

              I never knew they were supposed to be within 5% of each other – now I’m curious as to how my grades fit with that! The only mark I remember was my Chemistry mark, because I did better on my Chemistry diploma than my in-class grade (it was the only class I did better on the diploma – in most classes, my final grade went down a couple of percent after the diploma exam). Ironically, I hated Chemistry and spent a good chunk of the classes playing games like SOS with the girl sitting next to me.

          2. Anna*

            I was shocked to find out how many 18 and 19 year olds in Spain were still in what we would consider high school in the US until I realized it’s because their exit exams are crazy hard.

      3. hbc*

        This drives me up the wall. Put in criteria you actually intend to enforce, and which gives you a good result. If there’s something in place that would prevent you from hiring back a known good employee, the metric is 100% broken.

      4. Mona Lisa*

        Yes, I find that the HR employees who impose these draconian measures typically have no creative thought or deductive reasoning skills when it comes to hiring. When I worked at ToxicJob, they had recently implemented a requirement that all new employees needed a college degree. Then they bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t staff extensions offices in areas of the state where less than 11% of the population had a bachelor’s. In fact, the CFO didn’t have a degree either — she’d worked her way up into that position over 30+ years with the organization. But that didn’t matter because we needed everyone to have advanced degrees for positions that paid less than $13/hour.

          1. Mona Lisa*

            Honestly, it’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of bad HR policies that the organization had. I suppose I should extrapolate to say that, if you notice unnecessary or odd requirements on a job application, it would be a good idea to look closer into company policies before accepting a position. Quality of life at an organization can be greatly affected by the way HR operates and the amount of power it has over day-to-day runnings.

    2. Adalade*

      My husband is an educator with a master’s degree in ESOL/alternative learners. He specializes in teaching methods that accommodate learning disabilities, multiple intelligences, and so on.

      He has a very poor bachelor’s GPA because he was not diagnosed with his own learning disabilities until junior year–which was the catalyst for him entering the field. He powered back once he had the knowledge and accommodations he needed, but it still took a major toll on his overall average.

      He excels at what he does, because he was there himself and knows what it was like. Yet, many districts refused to even interview him since he didn’t meet their GPA requirements. Once he started getting state recognition, they magically changed their minds and realized how short-sighted they were. He declined.

      1. Justme*

        The best teacher I know has abysmal undergrad grades. They’re also working towards a Doctorate (in what, I forgot) but their grades have luckily not impacted their prospects.

        1. finderskeepers*

          I don’t understand the point of anecdotes like this that go “I know someone who is awesome at X but was previously bad at Y” but in actuality people good at Y are far more likely to be better at X.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            These anecdotes relate to the comments they are responding to. If you scroll up and read them in context, you may better understand the point of the comments.

          2. KellyK*

            Because the more circumstances that exist where being bad at Y *doesn’t* predict being bad at X, the less useful it is to use Y to try to measure X. Particularly when your information on Y is out of date, like the examples above. If someone’s applying for a job and has experience, that’s X. Why would you dig 20 years into the past for Y and hope it’s relevant when you’ve got info on X from the last 5 years?

          3. Pomona Sprout*

            What do you mean? If you’re implying that academic perfornance is a reliable predictor of one’s ability to excel in other arenas of activity, you will have an argument on your hands, from me at least.

            School grades measure one’s ability to perform certain kinds of tasks in a certain kind of setting. Speaking as one whose academic performance was adversely impacted by undiagnosed ADHD throughout my school and college years, I can assure you that my grades (with the exception of language arts) were in no way indicative of my true abilities in most areas. My grades were all over the place even in college. I never managed to maintain a gpa of 3.0 (out of 4.0) until I got to grad school, and then only because I HAD to maintain a 3.0 to avoid getting kicked out of my program. I REALLY wanted that degree and was therefire highly motivated enough to just about kill myself to keep my grades that high.

            I’m very grateful that no employer ever had any interest in my undergrad gpa. If ny ability to get hired was dependent on that, I’m sure I would have had a very hard tIme getting hired.

        1. finderskeepers*

          I don’t know what to make of this comment, is it supposed to be serious or sarcastic? Is it a veiled reference to the worn saying “those who can , do. those who can’t, teach”?

          1. KellyK*

            No, it’s about the fact that one of the important aspects of teaching is recognizing the areas where students will struggle. If school was easy for you, particularly the subject you teach (which is often the case, because who wants to teach something they struggle with), it’s easy to think it should be easy for the students and get frustrated when they have difficulty.

            1. Justme*

              My kid is in elementary school and her teacher has a diagnosed learning disability. It does make her a more effective teacher because she can mold lessons better to fit different learning styles.

          2. Specialk9*

            Uh, nope, not sarcastic. People who struggled through a subject get it in a way that they can walk kids of all levels through. You try getting a step by step troubleshoot from someone who looks at a math problem and just has the answer appear in their head. They have no clue. I couldn’t teach English lit for that reason – ‘I mean, it’s super obvious, why don’t you guys get it?’ is not a great pedagogical method. But I could certainly teach math, given how much sweat and tears I spent on it.

      2. Halibut*

        I my early to mid 20s I had a few years where I had some issues with undiagnosed depression (specifically Seasonal Affective Disorder)–without fail between November and February (which at my school represented fully half of two different semesters) my grades would plummet. I got put on academic probation and suspension though my overall GPA never dropped below a 2.5. Once I was diagnosed and able to cope better with my SAD my grades recovered–but my overall GPA is still well below my capabilities (just having a name for it and understanding what was happening, was helpful–I was on medication for a short time but the coping mechanisms were just as effective and less expensive to my uninsured college student self).

    3. Shadow*

      are they only targeting only the freshly graduated? Once you’ve had a few years of professional experience gpa is irrellevant and most employers don’t care

      1. DecorativeCacti*

        I came across a job posting for an executive assistant that wanted high school and college transcripts and at least five years experience. It was at a community college so maybe that’s different, but I didn’t even bother applying.

  3. Mike C.*

    Please, seriously consider the advice above about your HR person and take it very seriously. Something along the lines of a staff meeting where the HR person is in attendance and you and your coworkers demand to know why you are lied to and why your safety was not made the priority.

    This sort of thing means meeting with like minded coworkers ahead of time, agreeing to verbally support each other and to ensure that multiple people are asking direct questions and ensuring that you are receiving direct answers. Take turns asking questions and pointing out where answers are vague, off topic, ineffective or otherwise lacking. You want lots of different voices from different parts of the room, especially from those who don’t speak up as much. Some questions to consider:

    “Why didn’t you inform us of the danger we were exposed to?”

    “Why did you tell us that the officer was here for the hurricane instead?”

    “What other safety situations are you aware of that you haven’t told us about?”

    “What are the plans and policies of the company to ensure our safety in the workplace? Especially in cases where the threat was coming from another person?”

    I get that these are bold, direct questions that aren’t usually asked in the workplace. But when we’re talking about workplace safety, demurring is going to get someone hurt. And this isn’t about some certainly that your workplace is going to get shot up, but that if there isn’t a plan for workplace violence, are there even plans for other more common safety issues?

    You may get answers like, “I don’t know” or “We’re coming up with something”. That’s a great time to step up and say that you want to take an active role in this. That’s where you start talking about working together. The HR rep clearly screwed up massively (and I have plenty of opinions on that, trust me) but your safety is so much more important than blame right now. Most of all, effective safety policies rely on everyone watching out for each other.

    Get their attention to ensure they know you and your coworkers are serious and then work towards a solution. Be direct and expect real answers – you have every right to leave work in the same condition you arrived.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      This. Going as a group holds HR more accountable and makes you less of a target should HR go after “troublemakers”.
      And I’d try to involve HRs boss too, such as the president. Who knows what HR told the president?

      1. Jillian J.*

        Hi Guys!

        Thanks for the advice. It’s a small company 40ish employees. HR is just one person.

        On the plus side they did go through new safety training.

        The reason I posted the question was HR made people aware of the situation sign non disclosure forms to stop
        employees from talking about it.

        1. Mike C.*

          What in the actual f*uck?! First off, talking about conditions in the workplace is a federal right, and secondly, doesn’t it make you feel uncomfortable that HR doesn’t want you to discuss safety in the workplace?

          1. Jillian J.*

            People are talking just outside the office. The office environment discourages talking out loud – even about work. They want us to use a monitored system for all written communication.

            1. Engineer Girl*

              I’m not sure the NDA is legally enforceable. You’re allowed to talk about working conditions and HRs handling of the active shooter is related to safety and working conditions.
              Your HR person is actually worse than previously thought. Maybe it’s time to report them.
              And by the way, retaliation for reporting this is also covered under federal law.

            2. haley*

              You are legally protected in regards to speaking on your working conditions by the National Labor Relations Act! Suggesting you only use a monitored system (which they could then use to target you if they didn’t like what you said about working conditions) is almost certainly in violation.

              Aside from getting out of there for your own well-being and addressing HR, you may want to consider consulting a labor lawyer, a local union (even if you don’t decide to unionize they can provide advice) or a state hotline.

        2. Matilda Jefferies*

          They made employees sign NDAs about an active shooter? Specifically to prevent them from talking to other employees? That is all kinds of messed up.

          1. Zip Zap*

            I’m curious about just how illegal it is. NDAs are usually for trade secrets and other business-related information that would lead to a competitive disadvantage if leaked or could be misused in the wrong hands (confidential employee info, network passwords, the next big ad campaign, etc). This sounds like an extreme misuse of that kind of document.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              The National Labor Relations Act says employers can’t stop (most) employees from talking to each other about wages and working conditions. NDAs are usually about releasing info outside of the company; the NLRA is about talking with coworkers.

          1. Zip Zap*

            Yeah. This is bad enough that I would contact someone outside of the company before or during your conversation with them. Ideally someone who could advise you about your rights and how to proceed.

        3. mrs__peel*

          ……. honestly, I would start looking for another job if you haven’t already. This is so messed up.

    2. MassMatt*

      I would add pointed questions about how they plan to regain credibility, and what steps the company is going to take to make sure all information from the company is verified to be correct. Maybe follow up questions on whether HR is capable of fulfilling its role given their lack of credibility, and whether their function should be outsourced to a more responsible (and ethical!) party.

  4. Jeanne*

    There are companies that 20 years later want your SAT score or your GPA and actually factor that into hiring. Feel free to factor that into your opinion of how the company works. To me it’s a big negative for a director role. Your work experience should be important, not a standardized test you took at 16 years old. I’d be tempted to bring it up. Why do you need this number multiple times?

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      Yes. I work in an INSANELY classist and academically-snotty industry, and I think asking for someone’s SAT score is beyond the pale. I do have a minimum GPA for entry level positions only, and I am bringing an increasing number of people for whom I hire staff around to the idea that people who went somewhere besides a top-tier private are still excellent hires.

      I will say that my worst employee ever was an Ivy League grad, and, at every single meeting I had with his direct supervisors about his increasingly poor performance involved someone mentioning that he’d gotten a perfect score on some section of the SAT. Great! good for him! But I’m not admitting people to college, so I care more about his thoroughly unimpressive work performance.

      1. Specialk9*

        I bought the whole school line that doing well on tests and getting good grades meant one was intelligent, AND that one would be successful.

        I don’t buy it anymore. I’ve come to believe that success is determined most by: a lifelong interest in learning, good social skills, treating people with kindness especially when they’re down, honesty, and taking pride in doing a good job even when nobody is looking.

        Having a good vocabulary doesn’t hurt, but I think is not a key success factor. So basically, school lies.

        1. Zip Zap*

          I agree. That and a strong work ethic, including the ability to keep going when things aren’t going well.

          Standardized test scores are heavily influenced by the quality of the school you went to, how you were treated by that school, what your home life was like, what your family did to support your education, how much time you had to study, all kinds of things. People can do well despite the odds being stacked against them, or poorly despite the odds being in their favor. But when you look at the big picture, it isn’t all that fair or accurate. That’s why colleges ask for so much other data in addition to those scores. Even for their intended purpose, they’re only supposed to be one of many data points.

        2. PersephoneUnderground*

          OMG, this: “success is determined most by: a lifelong interest in learning, good social skills, treating people with kindness especially when they’re down, honesty, and taking pride in doing a good job even when nobody is looking.

          Having a good vocabulary doesn’t hurt, but I think is not a key success factor. So basically, school lies.”

          You win all my internets for today, this is perfect!
          (I was totally the goodie-two-shoes kid who swallowed everything school taught about life. I like the real setup better, though it’s too bad, if only I could get paid in real life based on testing so well :). I still remember my SAT score because it was amazingly awesome.)

          1. Specialk9*

            Fellow goodie two-shoes. I was so anxious about everything, and gave away too much power to People In Authoriteh. Lessons that have taken years to unravel.

            Though plus side, I didn’t become a 12 year old heroin addict, so that’s good.

    2. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

      My partner applied to a job where the application form asked for our country’s equivalent of SAT score. The company is somewhat famous in its field for asking this question which is considered weird. Also at the interview stage there was an illegal (and irrelevant) question asked*. However my partner got the job and has been quite satisfied with the company. Some parts of the recruiting process were odd to say the least, but this doesn’t seem to negatively affect the company in any way. So it’s not necessarily a big negative.

      *More on the illegal question: he was asked if he has completed military service (our country has conscription). He didn’t because of health reasons, so answering the question (and the “why” after it) lead to him having to reveal a chronic medical condition. Still they hired him so obviously it wasn’t a problem. Maybe they only discriminate against conscientious objectors (sorry if I spelled it wrong).

      1. Jeanne*

        You are right that it could still be a good company to work for. I just feel like it has to be part of the overall picture.

  5. Ramona Flowers*

    I mentioned on an open thread recently that my great-grandboss was stunned to hear I’d been asked for all my exam results ever – including GCSE and A level results – on some applications. They’d say you had to include failures and not lie, then screen me out, which was infuriating as I couldn’t explain the context/ perspective. I was homeless and living in a squat, had been a chronic truant for several years, and only failed one subject. I actually did quite well in the others.

    It really pisses me off if I have to disclose any of this when I have a masters degree and am in my 30s. On reflection I’m glad I didn’t end up working somewhere that thinks exam results from 20 years ago matter now, but it’s easy to say that when I actually have a job.

    Adolescent exam results don’t tell the whole story and should just be seen as a vehicle for getting into college, unless you’re a teacher or something.

    Almost everyone on my team has a postgrad of some sort but we don’t ask for any unnecessary qualifications, we just ask for the knowledge and expertise we need people to have – one of our biggest ‘rock stars’ was a high school dropout.

    Sorry for the essay, but as someone whose exam results come with context, this makes me get on my soapbox.

    1. Ramona Flowers*

      Just to qualify the bit about teachers: over here (UK) you need minimum grades in English and maths to teach. Or you used to anyway.

      1. Mae*

        This is true – but you can also take those exams, right up to starting teacher training if necessary. I don’t think the same is true of SATs.

        1. Caledonia*

          And yes you can do this and I frequently recommend people who don’t currently meet the reqs in Maths and English to do this.

        2. INTP*

          As far as I know, anyone that pays the hefty exam fee is allowed to take the SATs. I have never heard of anyone taking them when they weren’t applying for college, though.

          1. Meghan*

            I had a friend in high school whose dad would retake them every year, for “funsies.” So now you’ve heard of someone, in an apocryphal sort of way.

          2. blackcat*

            It’s common if you are applying to work as a teacher/tutor for Kaplan, Princeton Review, or other test-prep companies. Given that those jobs are generally lucrative, it is work the time and fee to take the tests. But is likely awkward to be a 30 year old in a room full of teens!

            1. Polymer Phil*

              I have a friend who does this on the side. According to him, all they do is hire people with public speaking experience and have them narrate a canned curriculum.

      2. Akcipitrokulo*

        In Scotland if you don’t have requirements from school you can either retake or do a SWAP (Scottish Wider Access Programme) which gets you straight onto a degree course if you pass… which makes school grades really irrelevant!

        Where I am now, no-one gives a shit that I got 1 higher (expected min 3, 5 to get into medicine or law) and failed my Higher French at school…

    2. blackcat*

      In the US, there are (generally) different standardized tests you need to pass to become a teacher. It varies state to state, but there is often no minimum GPA, particularly if you are *already* teaching and are moving laterally.

      1. mrs__peel*

        Also, some school districts require a masters’ degree. Although some will give you time to get one– my brother went right from undergrad into a high school teaching job, with the expectation that he’ll get a masters’ at some point within the next few years.

    3. Specialk9*

      @Ramona Flowers
      “I was homeless and living in a squat, had been a chronic truant for several years, and only failed one subject. I actually did quite well in the others.”

      I hope you’re damn proud of yourself. That’s amazing. If I knew that about you, I’d want to hire you.

  6. Caitlin*

    AAM, the safety answer as well as some other recent ones have got me wondering about how to get a group of colleagues to go in with you on a problem. Do you stride into the break room and ask, “anyone else furious about this HR lie? I’m going to complain, who’ll sign on with me?” or talk to people one on one…? I’m sure it varies a lot by workplace, but in a decentralized office, for instance, how would you do it without potentially seeming to be stirring up trouble?

    1. attie*

      In my office it would be easy since we have one guy who is Gossip Central. Mention something to him and a day later the whole office knows it. Very convenient! (That said, never ask him how to find a dermatologist for that rash… I didn’t need to know that about my coworkers, thanks!)

    2. Colette*

      I think the most effective way is one on one – but the way you’ve phrased it is too aggressive. I’d suggest doing more listening than leading the conversation, because you don’t want people to agree just to get you to go away – you want people who agree and will back you up.

    3. Myrin*

      I’ve been wondering that as well because I can imagine all kinds of possibilites which could all go splendidly or splendidly wrong in various ways.

    4. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

      I tend to talk briefly to people on my floor when I bump into them during the day. I would probably bring it up then. Odds are it would be the topic-of-the-week, so I could suggest the meeting then. If I could discuss it with the 5-10 people I say “Hi, how’s it going?…How was your weekend?” it would easily get to everyone on our floor and possibly the building in a week or so. One important thing, though, is you have to be responsible for scheduling any meetings to get it from “someone should do this” to “we are doing this”. Otherwise it goes nowhere

    5. Courtney*

      I’ve wondered this too – and furthermore, how do you go about approaching the boss as a group? Is it literally a bunch of you stopping by the bosses’ office to talk? Separately or together? This may sound silly but I’ve always wondered about the logistics behind the “approach the boss as a group” advice.

    6. Bea*

      One on one conversation tends to work best.

      “How’s it going, Betsy?”
      “Not bad, up to my knees in TPS reports but digging out. How are you?”
      “Finishing up the Hudson project. Hey, did you hear the “hurricane preparation” nonsense yesterday was actually to disguise the suspicion of an active shooter in the building?!”
      “Yeah that was nuts, so scary.”
      “Maybe we should talk to HR about it, what do you think?”

      It’s normal to chat with each other and that’s when you bring up a group chat with HR or the boss, etc.

      You could email or IM too if it’s appropriate.

      It’s all about understanding you have a group sized grievance and then acting on it.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Yeah, I always picture someone jumping up on a table like Norma Rae, but really it’s just talking to people and getting a group together.

        1. Specialk9*

          Yeah. Quiet one on one conversations.

          Just be really careful not to become the person who a group throws out into the alley to see if there’s a firing squad waiting.

          I had that happen once. Everybody complained – everyone – but when I actually spoke up to management, suddenly everyone melted away behind me. I realized they had been hoping to rile someone up to be their patsy, so they could not deal with the blowback personally, but still have the issue raised. Ok, thanks, lesson learned.

  7. AlligatorTrainer*

    Vacation time is so precious to me that I think I’d be excited for the chance to maybe get more, but then potentially devastated not to win the raffle!

    1. Hey Karma, Over Here*

      It’s a standard prize in my company. We half quarterly team appreciation events with snacks and raffles. Time off always gets the most tickets.
      But my division has 150 people, so the same number of prizes LW mentions makes sense.

      1. Shadow*

        Its indiciative of a really cheap company. “They don’t give us money for this program so what can we give out as a prize?”

        1. LBK*

          Just because it doesn’t have cash value doesn’t mean it’s not valuable – clearly there’s plenty of people here who’d be excited to get extra vacation time. I know I’d probably take that over a cash bonus unless it were considerable. Not to sound overly bougie but I go through my PTO much faster than I go through my salary.

          1. Clownbaby*

            Right there with you! I would probably take an extra week of vacation over a cash bonus easily. I only get 2 weeks per year…which makes my love/need for international travel hard to satisfy.

            I live a pretty modest lifestyle. Travel is pretty much my one indulgence. I’d really enjoy more time to do it. I’ll start getting 3 weeks of vacation per year starting 2020…but that’s a long way off :(

            There’s a department within my company that rewards monthly perfect attendance with a vacation day…with I could adopt that policy! Of course…as a department of 1…probably not much of an option for me.

        2. Hey Karma, Over here.*

          That’s ironic you mention that. I’m on the committee that organizes the raffles. We got push back in the beginning of offering a 1 hour off coupon to all the employees because the C level officers did the math. “Averaging the salary for 150 people across the board at X, we are giving away, $Y dollars and that’s not realistic.”
          But calmer heads prevailed and we do it twice a years and raffle days off about 4 times a year. The company has not gone belly up because of it.

        3. mrs__peel*

          There’s a company here that lets employees *buy* extra vacation days, which always struck me as very weird. (I guess it’s useful if the employer doesn’t grant unpaid leave for any reason…?)

      2. Rebecca in Dallas*

        Yep, it’s given out as a prize fairly often in my company. We don’t have very generous vacation time, so it’s nice to be rewarded with an extra day here and there. It doesn’t cost the company anything and makes the receiver happy, so it’s a win-win!

    2. I GOTS TO KNOW!*

      We do it frequently as raffle prizes, contest prizes, etc. People love it. And only people who are a bitter betty about losing any kind of giveaway are upset – they are just as upset about losing out on a $5 starbucks card as they are a PTO day. You can’t do anything about those people and they are in the vast minority.

      I LOVE that they do this.

    3. Turquoise Cow*

      My old company used to give out “work from home days.” Which was interesting because their usual stance was “We are Not a Work from Home Company!!”

      After Hurricane Sandy, almost everyone got a laptop in case of extended power outage – half the building had power and half didn’t, but that was no help when our desktops were in the part that didn’t. They ended up moving our desktops to another floor and moving those people to some other location.

      Anyway, before I got a laptop, I wondered what would happen if a person without a laptop won a work from home day. Would they be provided with a laptop? Would they get some other consolation prize instead?

      1. puzzld*

        Yeah the PTO prize would be much appreciated by our hourly staff members. Those of us on salary, not so much, we really can come and go as we need to and most of us have time to burn as it were.

        The really hot ticket here is a reserved parking place in the lot of the winners choice. I never enter this raffle, because I’m afraid I’d be driven to vandalism or possibly homicidal violence the day I rolled in and found someone in my spot. Best not to chance it.

    4. CMart*

      We had a “Quatro de Mayo” floor potluck this year (as May 5th was a crazy work day for us) with salsa and guacamole contests. The winner of each got an extra vacation day (!!!).

      I was one of two people to enter the salsa contest. Only three people entered the guac contest. I make a killer salsa verde and was really optimistic about my odds. I proudly set out my tub of sweet and spicy heaven only to have wave after wave of confusion and dismay wash over me as the admin who organized the event set out six different salsas (and three guacamoles).

      To add insult to injury, she then went around the potluck pointing out that “all but the green one” were hers, telling everyone about how they were made from her homegrown, organic garden except for the mango salsa which she had learned from a mystic Aztec on her backpacking trip last summer (I might be misremembering due to the fog of despair from that day).

      The contest was effectively canceled and no winners were announced. I heard through the grapevine that the admin was awarded one extra vacation day.

      Yes, it is the middle of September and I am still bitter. Ha.

    5. TootsNYC*

      Yeah, I think this is kind of a cool prize!

      For one thing, it’s going to be useful to everyone!

      (well, unless your company has convinced you, and itself, that it can’t do without you, and you “can’t” take vacation)

      And bonus to the company–it may not cost them anything. Unless you actually have to hire someone to fill in, vacation doesn’t cost cash, and productivity dings are spread out among the team, if you manage it right.

    6. Typhon Worker Bee*

      My former company used to give extra paid vacation days as raffle prizes, but stopped when they realised people were more excited about the time off than any other prize! And the other prizes were sometimes really nice stuff, like $200 vouchers for fancy restaurants or a mountain bike or a free weekend accommodation at a ski resort. They decided it didn’t look too good to have people so excited about missing more work!

      This was a place with a pretty generous vacation allowance, too – 3 weeks plus the week between Christmas and New Year, going up to 4 weeks plus if you stayed more than 5 years.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I think they didn’t get it.

        The excitement was because it was a prize you could atctually USE!
        How many people really want to win a bike? It’s annoying to try to sell it, and if you aren’t already a biker, maybe you don’t want one. And if you are, maybe you have one.

  8. Drago Cucina*

    #1. As a director this is weird. I arranged my whole undergrad coursework so I would never have to take the SAT. I could give the numbers from the National Teachers Exam General Knowledge given in the mid 80s. Or my MAT in the 90s.

    #2. I like the idea of having extra vacation days as prizes. We start with 2 weeks and it maxes out at 4, so I could see our folks liking the idea of a chance for more PTO.

    1. Drago Cucina*

      I remembered that I did this last year at our staff training day. We had an afternoon scavenger hunt (don’t laugh they loved it and suggested escape rooms for this year). The grand prize was an extra vacation day, drawn from the winning team.

  9. Annonymouse*

    The connection isn’t too tenuous at all. This person was involved in your work, can speak directly about its quality and even praised it in the past.

    A tenuous connection is more like that letter earlier where a employees CEO wanted them to refer his cousins daughter to roles.

    Or you worked at a fast food outlet and the senior vp of marketing moved to a different company and you (a entry level person of 3 months with no contact or other connection to them) ask them to put in a good word for you.

    1. OP4*

      OP here, thanks for chiming in! I think I was just weirded out by the fact we’ve never met in person, so appreciate the reassurance.

      1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

        OP4, not only is this an appropriate person to use as a reference, you already have a great introduction. In your email, you can say that your boss informed you of the compliment she made about your work and you want to thank her for it. That way, before even asking for help, you are establishing your (truly felt) gratitude. As for never meeting in person, you can certainly ask to do so at some point in the future–maybe a short meeting over coffee. I have found that senior leaders who have positive views of another person’s work are often happy to make that personal connection.

  10. Perse's Mom*

    OP2 – My employer holds an annual silent auction as part of a company wide fundraiser and the paid time off included in the auction scores the biggest bids year after year, so this is not a foreign idea to me. The annual company event raffle for us is usually a split pot with the larger share going to charity and the raffle winner getting the smaller share. The silent auction PTO and annual raffle are almost always won by someone in Sales.

    A raffle where everyone is entered means it’s luck of the draw, but everyone has a chance to win. I’m not sure why this feels unethical to you. Are the methods of earning additional raffle tickets something that bias the likelihood of winning to a certain team or department?

    1. Trout 'Waver*

      A silent auction with PTO as a prize sounds problematic because to lower-compensated employees would have a lower cash value on their PTO than the people at the top. Having the best prizes disproportionately go to the highest paid people seems like it would cause resentment. Maybe I’ve overthinking it, though.

      1. Iris Eyes*

        Buy they would still have the same chance as winning presumably. My thought is, if vacation is typically paid out if you leave the job, are these included in that?

        1. Trout 'Waver*

          In a silent auction, everyone can submit a bid, but only the highest bid wins. And if you get paid $300/day, your PTO is worth more than if you get paid $100/day. Assuming you can take unpaid leave, you’d never bid more than you’d make, right?

    2. Interviewer*

      “Is giving out extra vacation days to seven employees out of our entire staff of 500-1000ish people ethical? Is it legal? Is it advisable?”

      Yes, yes, and yes. We have free PTO days in our annual drawings for administrative professionals day – similar amounts offered in ratio to your headcount – and it’s widely appreciated by the recipients.

      I feel like I’m missing something. Why in the world would you be suspicious about this? Are you upset by any of the other prizes?

  11. sacados*

    Jfc, after 15 years I don’t even *remember* my SAT score! I mean, I know I got an 800 verbal but my math was… 600- something? 700-something? I honestly couldn’t tell you, and I have no idea where to look to find it out.

    1. Project Manager*

      I remember my almost 20 yr old score, but that’s because it was 1580 and I was so pissed it wasn’t 1600 that I considered retaking it. To infuriate me further, the 780 was on the math portion, and I also had to take the SAT II math IIc test because of the programs I was applying to…and I got an 800 on that, which just proved 1600 on the SAT was achievable.

      (I didn’t retake it, though.)

      1. High SAT Score*

        I got a 1590/1600 back in the day. I aced the math and got 4 wrong on the verbal. The 790 on the verbal was significantly higher than my practice tests so I figured retaking would just lower my score.

        As someone who got such a high score, I can confidently say that the only thing the SAT tests is test-taking ability.

        1. Specialk9*

          When I was applying to colleges, they let you report the best score on each section. So best verbal and best math. Even if you took it 5 times, you could take the verbal score from try 2, and math from try 5.

      2. Jaydee*

        I can remember my score for the same reason! 1590. My mom was so excited she just kept saying “790 and an 800?! Wow!” And all I could think was “what question did I miss.”

        1. blackcat*

          Ha, this is exactly why my dad remembers his, too! His dad’s question to him: “What happened to you on the verbal?” (that was the 790)

          I, who took the SAT roughly 35 years more recently than him, do not remember my scores. I do remember my GREs, but that is easier because they were both the same number (169/170–the scoring system caused me to scratch my head quite a bit. I think they abandoned the 170 scaling after only a couple of years).

          Similarly, because they were a less memorable result, my dad does not recall his LSAT score (all either of my parents remember is that my mom outscored my dad by some even number of points. They do not remember either absolute score).

          1. Phlox*

            The first thing my dad said when he saw my sat score was that his was slightly higher. (Mine were still pretty good). But my dad is the kind of person who remembers the VIN number of his old cars, so yes he could still rattle off his sat score from 25 years back

      3. Footiepjs*

        Similarly I remember my 1480 because I was annoyed I didn’t break 1500. My twin sister and I got the same total and scored higher in our weaker area which is kind of funny. I only took it for the National Merit Scholar ma-bob because I was a semifinalist due to the PSAT that everyone in my school took.

    2. Danger: Gumption Ahead*

      Me too, except I can’t even remember the ranges. I know my verbal was better than math, but can’t remember any numbers beyond “good, not great, but fine for schools I am applying to”. I also can’t remember my GRE score.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I only remember mine because they were two round numbers. (Pretty good, but I’m not sharing!) I got a 730 on the French SAT II, though! I was super proud of that.

      I also possess an unusually good memory for completely random things that no one cares about.

    4. I get that*

      I only remember my numbers after 40+ years because I’m sure I missed exactly 3 questions on the math portion and if the verbal had been 10 points higher I would have gotten out of another English class as a freshman.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        Getting out of a freshman English class because of my test scores actually didn’t work in my favor. I would have done well in that class and could have used the A. :-/

    5. JeanB in NC*

      I took the SAT in 1978 and I still remember both my scores. I mean, they are nothing special (650 verbal/540 math) but for some reason they are stuck in my head.

      1. Judy (since 2010)*

        The SAT was “recentered” in 1995, which led to the averages being increased quite a bit. It also seems to have lead to lots more 1600 scores. (From what I’m seeing, before 1995, 1 out of 100,000 to 200,000 takers would get 1600. After 1995, 1 out of 1,400 takers got 1600.)

        1. Trout 'Waver*

          The introduction of test prep software around that time may have something to do with the increased incidence of 1600s also. The SAT is a highly coachable test.

        2. Chicken Superhero*

          The National Merit Scholar award is actually a floating thing, since some years’ tests give better scores (and some years have smarter kids). My score was 20 points lower than my brother’s, who realistically is brilliant, but I got Natl Merit and he didn’t.

          Also, it’s pegged to PSAT not SAT, because most people who study so so for the SAT. (I knew that fact and so studied hard for the PSAT).

        3. Anna*

          I don’t remember my GRE scores, but I do remember the first time I scored higher in verbal than math, and the math score wasn’t the minimum needed for the program I wanted. So I studied math a bit harder and retested and my math score went up but my verbal score went down. I took that to mean I only had so much space in my head to remember this stuff.

    6. Ama*

      I don’t remember my exact number any longer, but I remember when I took it the scoring was done in such a way that you lost points with wrong answers in multiples of 4 (i.e. if you got 7 questions wrong you got the same score as someone who missed 4 questions, but if you got 8 questions wrong you went down to the next score level). And I got exactly 4 questions wrong in Verbal and 8 questions wrong in Math. Somehow that made me more irritated than my actual numerical total .

      All I remember about the GRE is that I got a great score in the logic section that they don’t even have any longer.

  12. sheworkshardforthemoney*

    No.1 I recently applied to a college program and they wanted an original copy of my high school graduation certificate. I also have a university degree but that seemed less important than my high school record.
    No.3 At my last job a co-worker was fired with cause and the administration had security stationed on site for a few days. We were informed that if they were seen on the premises to notify them, however most of us felt sorry for the person and never felt that they were a danger. But I can see the need for CYA in case something did happen.

  13. WG*

    #1: I’m in the US and have managed to never take a standardized test. I started college as an adult through the school’s adult education program, taking a class here and there. I was theb accepted into a degree program based on the performance in those classes rather than test scores. And the master’s degree program I completed didn’t require an entrance exam.

    An employer’s requirements for consideration for employment can signal the way that employer operates. If they aren’t seeking relevant information to align with the open position being hired for, how are their other policies and practices going to work?

  14. Juli G.*

    I’m just going to throw out there that in a lot of companies, HR doesn’t just independently do whatever they want. Especially in larger companies. The messaging may have come from the CEO or company president.

      1. Colette*

        It’s easy to say HR should tell the truth, but if their boss has ordered them to lie, they have bills to pay like everyone else. But I’d that’s the case, that’s valuable information about the kind of company the OP is working for.

        1. Mike C.*

          First off, I’m getting a little tired of this idea that “learning valuable information about the kind of company the OP is working for/applying for/etc” somehow makes up for the wrong doing that went on. If something terrible actually happened, that information would be worthless. It’s a minor comfort at best.

          Secondly and more importantly, “having bills to pay” does not in any way justify endangering one’s coworkers by hiding safety issues. Losing your job is nothing compared to being maimed or killed at work. This sort of thing has happened to my coworkers. Horrific stuff, the kind of thing that brings news helicopters.

          I don’t say this lightly but at the end of the day, you can always get a new job.

          1. Colette*

            No one says it makes up for anything – but if quitting a job is reasonable if you’re asked to do something that makes someone else unsafe, it must be just as reasonable to quit a job that makes you unsafe.

            It’s asking a lot to expect someone, in a stressful situation they’ve never encountered or seriously considered before, to make a snap decision to go against her boss and quit a job she may need desperately.

            And a lot of times in a crisis, people follow whoever sounds like they know what to do. That could easily have happened here.

            1. Mike C.*

              I’m talking and responding to the idea of someone being made away of a serious safety issue, being told to keep quiet about it, and following through with that directive. I’m not talking about situations where one person is making someone else feel unsafe nor am I talking about situations where someone is themseves feeing unsafe.

              So even if the ultimate responsibility lies with someone higher up, anyone who follows through with such directives, knowing that the situation puts others in harm, is taking on responsiblity themselves.

              I get that it’s never easy to stand up for what’s right, but the alternative is horrifying. While I know only a few people who would be ok without a job, I don’t know anyone who would be ok without an arm, or without an eye or without their life.

      2. Juli G.*

        Sure. But my point was you can burn down the HR department and the call can still be coming from inside the house.

      3. Roscoe*

        I think it does. If your boss tells you to do something, you can disobey and risk your job, or do what they say. You shouldn’t expect them to risk their job for others.

        1. Mike C.*

          When it comes to safety I certainly expect them to do so because I would do the same for them.

          Are you saying that you would hide safety issues from your coworkers if told to do so by management? If so, how would you feel if they were hurt?

        2. KellyK*

          I think you should absolutely be able to expect someone choosing between their job and your life to not throw you under that (only barely metaphorical) bus. You can’t, frequently, but let’s not excuse that.

  15. Jolie*

    Just wondering : wouldn’t that discriminate against applicants who were educated in countries where SAT’s aren’t a thing?

    1. Iris Eyes*

      Or in areas of this country where the SAT isn’t a thing.

      I took the ACT quite a few times, like maybe 6 (because I enjoy standardized tests). But after taking the PSAT, I decided that test format wasn’t for me, and most colleges in my region take either.

      1. Perse's Mom*

        I never took the SATs; my mom couldn’t afford that fee on top of the ACT fee. Plus none of the universities I applied to required the SAT specifically. It was either/or with the ACTs.

  16. Another person*

    #1- There was federal lawsuit filed against the Florida Department of Education because it uses these test scores to determine teacher bonuses (see “Best and Brightest” program). They are claiming this discriminates against older teachers and black and Hispanic teachers and there is a lot of research that backs this up. Hopefully this nonsense of employers putting college entrance tests you may have taken as a teenager over what you’ve actually accomplished in your career will go away soon.

    1. Rusty Shackelford*

      Even if it weren’t discriminatory (which I agree it is) – what a STUPID way to distribute bonuses!

    2. finderskeepers*

      The first claim could have merit because the tests and/or scoring may not be the same over time . But the second claim of disparate impact is a bit much.

      1. Sue Wilson*

        Saying the second claim is a bit much is kinda a weird thing to say when there’s a mountain of evidence that the SAT disadvantages minorities like Latinos and black people.

      2. Engineer Girl*

        Um no. Wealthier (usually white) students can afford coaching and can also retake the test for higher scores. Disadvantaged groups can’t afford the fees, can’t afford tutoring, can’t retake if the person was sick on the day of the test.
        A teacher teaching in a disadvantaged school will not have the same prep resources as an advantaged school.

      3. Specialk9*

        What a bizarre belief. Spend 12 seconds googling ‘racial bias SAT’ and ‘wealth bias SAT’. There really is an absolute mountain of evidence. This is in no way a wild claim.

  17. Salaried Employee*

    Re: OP #2:
    This may actually be a case for,the is it legal. The whole days are fine but OP states that most are salaried, not hourly. As such, NOT paying them for the whole day if they work any of it IS illegal. Am I the only one left wondering if this company is mishandling hourly as salary to get out of paying OT? The case could surely be made with this raffle.

    1. Doreen*

      The employer has to pay exempt workers for the whole day if they work any of it. That doesn’t mean they can’t legally deduct from your vacation time/PTO when you leave four hours early – you are still getting paid for the whole day. Or that they can’t pay you for the whole day and then fire you for taking a half day off without permission/leave time to cover it. I’m just talking about what is legal – not saying it’s a good idea.

    2. MCMonkeyBean*

      The raffle wouldn’t change what anyone is paid. If you win a half day off it just means you can say to your boss “hey, I’m leaving at lunch tomorrow just because I feel like it!” I’ve taken half-days plenty of times. Lots of people in my office take a half day the Friday before a 3-day weekend.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’m confused by this comment. They have to pay exempt workers for the full week if they work any part of it, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t charge your vacation time when you don’t work full days.

  18. Lora*

    One very famous consumer electronics company only hires engineers who went to MIT. No other schools. The founder went there. They are aware that they miss out on talent, because they sue the crap out of anyone who makes electronics of similar quality.

    They’re privately held, so…life choices, I guess.

  19. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    Wow… I work in education (test prep tutoring company) and we do require our tutors to achieve a certain score on the SAT or ACT depending on what’s more popular regionally, but we provide training and have them take a practice test at the end of training. The tests have morphed quite a bit over the years, and while I absolutely think that you should be able to score at a certain level if you are going to teach them, there are very few other reasons why anyone should need them once you get into college. They are a means to an end.

    1. Zip Zap*

      Exactly. They’re meant to round out the bigger picture of grades, writing skills, references, extracurricular activities, and other accomplishments. Because schools and teachers grade differently, and teach differently, and there’s a lot of inequality there, there is value to having everyone take the same test. It’s imperfect, but it’s one of many ways to balance things out. Outside of that context, their relevance diminishes.

  20. Delta Delta*

    Fun story! When I took the SAT it happened to fall on the same day as my school’s senior prom. All the girls taking it that morning from my school showed up with hot rollers in their hair. I don’t recall my score and I’m pretty sure in the 20 years since I took it the score sheet has been thrown out.

    1. Zathras*

      This is what I was wondering – how do they check this? Can you actually verify SAT scores from decades ago, and is the company really doing it for every potential hire? I’m guessing pulling a score report is not free.

      1. PieInTheBlueSky*

        I just checked, because I was curious about this myself. If your score is more than a year old, it is archived. You can retrieve your archived scores for $31. It doesn’t appear that another party (such as the hiring company) can request someone’s score, so you’d have to order your own score and provide it to the company if they wanted proof.

  21. Roscoe*

    To play devil’s advocate for #3, if the police were already called, what purpose would informing everyone have done? They were handling the situation, so it is likely to have just caused more panic making things worse. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the police didn’t want it to be made public while they were taking care of it. This isn’t like a fire, where you’d want to get everyone out of the building. Chances are, they wanted people to stay in confined areas for their own safety. In stressful situations like this, people don’t always make the most rational choices, and its possible that keeping everyone in the dark was the best way to ensure the safety of more people

    1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Because there are specific ways that uninvolved employees need to act around police when there is an active shooter situation. Emergency Planner above did a great rundown on it.

      Because it doesn’t give people the chance to RUN or HIDE (eg barricade a door and get behind a file cabinet) and because that’s HOW EMPLOYEES GET SHOT by the SWAT team by accident.

      If you look at the govt active shooter guidance (link in next comment), it all stresses how important it is to be utterly non threatening to the police. They’re keyed up and inclined to be trigger happy, and the shooter usually is a fellow employee who blends in, especially if they drop the gun.

      When there is an active shooter situation, you must drop everything in your hands, hold your hands up, and above all don’t scream and try to cling to them, even though you’ll want to. (Imagine if you were defending your home from intruders and how threatening that behavior would seem.)

      If police are there because of a faraway hurricane (???) those concerns would not be present.

    2. Wannabe Disney Princess*

      There’s lots of reasons to inform the staff. Mental wellbeing alone is enough.

      For example, I’ve been through a school shooting. If I found out that my company lied to me? I’d, first, have a massive panic attack and then quit. I deserve to feel safe where I work.

    3. SarahTheEntwife*

      If they need to stay in confined areas for their own safety, then someone really needs to tell them that. Even if it’s the sort of job where you usually never leave your desk area until the end of the day, do you want to risk that being the day someone has to leave early for an appointment, or needs to deliver something to another office?

    4. Iris Eyes*

      I kinda see you point because it was only something that was threatened not something that was actually happening. As such I can see them not wanting to cause panic or drama, or a mass exodus for the day. But really adults should be treated like adults and expected to behave as adults. They could have informed everyone of the situation and WHAT STEPS WERE BEING TAKEN TO PREVENT (in caps because its essential) a violent event.

    5. KellyK*

      Chances are, they wanted people to stay in confined areas for their own safety.

      This is *exactly* why you tell people. If I don’t know what’s going on, I’m going to be strolling down to the kitchen for coffee, or walking around asking who wants to get lunch, or going over to ask someone on the other side of the building if they’ve got their TPS reports done. I’m not going to stay closed in my office dead silent and unmoving unless I actually have reason to know that’s what I should be doing.

      Keeping everyone in the dark ensures that people will continue going about their normal day with no idea, which is *not* what you want in this situation. And that’s even *before* you get into Countess Boochie Flagrante’s really important points about not being shot by police.

    6. Zip Zap*

      I thought about this one and it occurred to me that the police or the company’s lawyer might have advised them to handle it this way. Maybe there was something unusual about this situation and/or someone was exercising really bad judgment. It seems unlikely, but it’s possible.

    7. Anon for This*

      This literally just happened where I work. One of our clients has a restraining order against her ex, but because we didn’t know what he looked like, he was able to slip into the building behind someone else. It wasn’t because security and staff were trying to keep it secret, but they all thought it was under control. If they had been a bit more upfront and passed around his photo to begin with, there’s a good chance he wouldn’t have gotten in at all because someone would have alerted the police he was on the property.

  22. Blue Anne*

    #1 – Is this a British company expanding to the US for the first time? It’s very common in the UK to ask for A-Level grades (received in the last year of high school) for jobs years and years later, and when I applied as an American quite a few of the companies said “Errr, well, SATs are kind of like that right?”

    1. OlympiasEpiriot*

      That’s funny. The SATS are SO NOT like A-levels! (I took both. The A-levels I took were faaaaaaaaaaaaar more difficult.)

      1. Blue Anne*

        Oh yeah, they’re not the same at all. But most Brits don’t really get it.

        I think that’s how I got in to Edinburgh. My grades were meh, but my SAT score was off the charts.

          1. Blue Anne*

            Yes, pretty much. But every student who is staying to age 18 does entirely A-levels. (You can leave at 16 with your GCSEs.)

            The OWL/NEWT system in Harry Potter is based on it.

            1. blackcat*

              “The OWL/NEWT system in Harry Potter is based on it.”

              This is totally the way to explain A-levels to Americans.

  23. INTP*

    Not to analyze this into the ground, but I’m curious if the HR in OP2 lied during or after the fact. I totally get why it would make employees feel unsafe to find out they were lied to, but it’s not necessarily a good idea to announce the active shooter situation during the active shooter situation – they could have been doing exactly what the police told them to do. (While not announcing it afterwards was a lie of omission, if there actually was an active shooter present, I can see how someone might non-maliciously draw the conclusion that nothing happened and there’s no reason to alarm people. Clearly the wrong decision because people found out anyways, of course.) If they said nothing during and then announced later that the police were only there because of the hurricane, that’s less defensible.

    I think in any case there is an opportunity for employee pushback here, but it might be more productive to approach this as an argument for your company to develop an active shooter plan so in the future everyone knows what to do rather than a complaint about HR.

    1. Murphy*

      I’m not an expert, but don’t you definitely want people to know about an active shooter situation while it’s going on?

      1. Jayne*

        Considering my place just had a test of our alerting system, I would say that letting people know about an active shooter is a high priority here. How are people expected to either Run, Hide or Fight or Secure in Place, if they don’t know something is happening?

      2. INTP*

        Not if it incites panic that could quickly inflame the situation. It’s most important to keep everyone safe, which they successfully did.

        That’s why I’m saying they should advocate for a plan, so if this happens again, they can hopefully be alerted in a safe way and trusted not to behave in a way that makes things worse. It’s more productive than tossing around blame over a situation that caught everyone off guard.

        1. Decima Dewey*

          The Active Shooter Training I’ve hard suggests a phrase agreed upon before hand, something like “Let’s go see Miss Sally”. Circuses used to use the music to “Stars and Stripes Forever” as an indication that there was an emergency going on.

          1. Zip Zap*

            That’s interesting. What about visitors and new employees who don’t know the code? Did the training say anything about that?

            1. Decima Dewey*

              The idea is that you’re supposed to tell new employees about it. Visitors? I think you’re supposed to urge them to run or hide.

    2. MechanicalPencil*

      If I remember my safety/fire position training stuff correctly, we were supposed to shelter in place/hide out of sight until we were evacuated by police. Barricade the doors, etc.

      I remember finding it HIGHLY ironic because we were in an open plan office with no doors, so I had to refrain from asking the police officer sarcastic questions about how that was supposed to work since our floor was one giant loop with locking glass doors on one side and locking composite wood doors on the other.

      1. Anonny*

        Our offices are fogged glass so they don’t do any good hiding employees, but we have punch out hammers in the offices so we an break the outside glass and escape if there was an actual emergency. We are on the first floor, so this is possible.

      2. blackcat*

        This advice has generally changed in the past few years. My initial training as a teacher was basically “hide the kids, shelter in place,” but by 2013, it was “send the kids running off into the woods along with anything they could use as a weapon.” (Note, this was different because I taught high school). The idea being that an active shooter can take out an entire classroom if they do find hidden kids, but they could only take out one or two if the students scattered and ran away.

        The police doing our training encouraged us science teachers to *make improvised weapons* out of what we had. And fire extinguishers were recommended in generally as excellent projectiles to throw at an active shooter.

        tl;dr, advice has changed from “secure & hide” to “run, fight if you can’t run, hide only if you can’t fight.”

          1. blackcat*

            Maybe context-specific? My training was high school only, and if I’ve got 20 adult-sized people in one small room with giant, uncover-able windows, fighting seems much more doable than hiding. The police running the training new the school reasonably well, so I can see them tailoring our training to our particular setting.

            One cop uttered the kind of terrifying, but reasonable statement of “3 or 4 teens along with the teacher rushing the shooter should be able to take them down. Most might get wounded or die, but if your option is a few dead kids or a classroom full of dead kids, you opt for a few dead kids.”

            I doubt they said the same thing to the 1st grade teachers, though.

            1. Decima Dewey*

              The advice I’ve heard as Run, Hide, and only Fight if you absolutely have to. And my most recent training was last year.

          2. AnonSummerCamp*

            Yeah, my summer camp training for active shooter was run (off into the woods), hide if you can’t run, and fight if your hiding place was intruded on (with improvised weapons, like lamps, the many dangerous things in the kitchen if you happened to be there, broken futon frames, etc). Our signal was loud piercing whistles the counselors all carried. If you heard a continuous whistle, you blew continuously as well while running away from the sound and gathered children to run with you on the way (but if one fell behind, you weren’t supposed to hang back with them). Theoretically we had regroup points in both of the main directions we’d end going, but it was also said as “if you can” thing, not a “end up in this direction” thing. Of course, we had the issue that in some buildings on site, you couldn’t hear a whistle going past you outside… and I don’t think we ever came up with a satisfactory solution.

        1. Jennie A*

          We were also taught to have the kids run and scatter when I was substituting. The old “lock the classroom and turn off the lights” plan proved (via several U.S. incidents) to accomplish nothing but set the kids up as a shooting gallery.

        2. Portia*

          Huh, interesting. I teach high school, and our active shooter procedure is still “lock doors, turn out lights, put kids against the wall so no one could see them if they peered through the door.” Maybe because all our classroom are on the 2nd-4th floors, so I don’t know how we’d send the kids out to safety. Although below I’m seeing that some schools teach the kids to fight back, and ours definitely doesn’t.

          1. KellyK*

            The best procedure probably depends a lot on the specifics of a school or classroom. In a first-floor classroom with big windows and an easily forced door, having the kids scatter might be a better option. But on a higher floor, there are a lot of places they can get trapped between the room and the exit. It also might be safer to shelter in place if you can block visibility through the door and physically barricade it.

      3. Solidus Pilcrow*

        Yeah, open plan/cubicles here in the front office. Large open areas in the manufacturing space. Our active shooter plan is “run” because that’s the only realistic option. They did provide training and gave us realistic expectations of what could happen and the reasons behind it.

        Since I’m fat and slow, I’ll probably act as a bullet stop for my more fleet-footed co-workers. :)

        1. Floundering Mander*

          Me too. I figure that if I’m ever in such a situation I will try to die in such a way that I knock the shooter over and my excessive body weight pins them to the floor.

    3. Anonny*

      I’m wondering if this was a situation where someone was in the building with a gun and wanted to hurt their co-workers, or was someone sitting in a car across the street waiting for their ex to get off work, wanted to confront them and they happened to have a gun in the trunk of their car. If it was something closer to the latter, then police may have been called and HR wanted to keep the matter private for the sake of the employee, and things were inflated due to gossip.

      1. fposte*

        Well, the post title says “co-worker,” but I don’t think it’s inflated even if it was a co-worker’s spouse who came to the office with the intention to shoot people–they’re not less dead if it wasn’t an employee, and covering this up by lying to the staff would be a problem in its own right.

    4. Jillian J.*


      The real issue I have with HR here is that they don’t notify anyone about an employee being fired. They did ask everyone to leave on time and not work late the day the guy was fired, but no reason was given at the time.

      I understand not wanting to cause panic or have a production loss if employees don’t want to coThe me in BUT seriously, they could tell us the guy was fired.

      1. INTP*

        Yeah, in that case it sounds like HR made some dumb decisions and tried to avoid disruption by hiding things they couldn’t realistically keep hidden. And it’s less justifiable imo if they knew the day before that he had threatened violence and they could just stay closed or open late the next day (versus if he made threats while everyone was already at work, so there was a potential panic situation and they needed everyone to stay calm). I still think it would be more effective to ask for a better plan for future situations than just complain about HR, just because people and departments are easier to work with when they aren’t put on the defensive to justify their actions, though.

  24. B*

    FEMA has a whole page dedicated to best practices in active shooter or bomb threat scenarios. There is even an online training module that is free for anyone to take. As a federal employee, it was mandatory training I was expected to complete annually. Perhaps when OP 3 and their colleagues approach HR, they can suggest that whoever made this idiotic decision should take the FEMA training as proof that they know what to do if there’s a next time.

  25. Anon for this*

    Re #3:
    A few years ago we had a bomb threat at my workplace. This was on a Friday afternoon. Senior staff knew, but rather than straight-up evacuating as they should have, we were sent an all-staff email saying how appreciated we were for working so hard lately, and we should all leave early to enjoy the nice weather and get an early start on the weekend.

    When I shrugged it off and didn’t immediately leave because I still had work to finish, security walked by my desk and told me to leave FFS, there’d been a bomb threat!

    That still goes down as one of the dumber leadership decisions there. It was never really explained or officially discussed.

    1. sheworkshardforthemoney*

      At one OldJob we were across the street from a major mall. Fire drills, bomb threats whatever, we had the fastest evacuations on record because everyone wanted the chance to shop or grab a coffee.

      1. Person of Interest*

        At my OldJob the meet-up place for evacuations was the 7-11 down the street. We figured anyone not accounted for when we left the building was probably there anyway.

      2. Forrest Rhodes*

        A semi-related story:
        Some time ago (think decades) I worked in a 20-to-30-story building that also housed the offices of an embassy from a Middle Eastern country that, at the time, had a highly volatile political climate. It wasn’t unusual for the building to be evacuated a couple of times a year because of bomb threats to this embassy. Every time a threat was received, every office in the building, top to bottom, was notified and evacuated; employees were sent home for the day while the building was checked out.
        One year, the number of threats suddenly increased—for six months or so, the building got two or three threats per month. These threats all ranted about the embassy country’s politics, so they were taken seriously, the building was emptied out, and employees were sent home; but no actual explosives were ever found. Then the threats stopped completely.
        Turned out that a couple of office workers, employed by a company that had offices in the building but was entirely unrelated to the embassy, had simply found a way to get the day off whenever the surf was particularly good.
        I never heard what finally happened to the perpetrators, but considering the impact their threats had on every other business in the building, I’m sure that fines and incarceration were involved.
        TL;DR: Even though nothing explodes, it’s always a good idea to let employees know when something like this is going on.

      1. Jayne*

        Depending on the active shooter situation, a fire drill may just create a victim pool if the active shooter is staged outside of the building or near the main exit. Also, people tend not to obey fire alarms. One of my colleagues stayed in the building when there was an evacuation due to a presumed bomb in the building. He just thought that the fire alarm was a false alarm. He had an uncomfortable chat with the FBI with a gun to his head. Also, if the fire alarm is going off, people cannot hear gunshots, and might not know there is an active shooter or what direction to run.

          1. Here we go again*

            We’ve gone through active shooter training and have fire drills, but now that I think about it, I have no clue what would happen in a bomb threat situation. Makes me sad that we have to think about those things…

            1. fposte*

              We’ve gone through no training. We will defend ourselves against aggressors with our emergency action pamphlet.

            2. Havarti*

              If the bomb threat we had once in high school is anything to go by, it’s handled like a fire drill plus the principal standing in the middle of the hallway, waving his arms and yelling “GET OUT! IT’S THE REAL THING!” Utter. Chaos. Thanks, Mr. R. I’ll never forget how not to evacuate a school. -_-

            3. Mallory Janis Ian*

              When I was in high school in the late eighties, there was a period of time when we were getting a bomb threat every day at the beginning of last period. It was kind of like a fire drill: we were all evacuated from the building in a “calm and orderly” fashion.

              The first few times, we would go out front and wait for the school buses to pull around and take us to the football field three blocks away. As the threats continued every day for weeks, they started lining the buses up out front before the threat was called in.

              They finally caught who was doing it; it was a kid who had dropped out, and he was making the calls at the same time each day from a different pay phone around town. After it was all over, and we started having to sit all the way through last period with no reprieve, we students kind of missed the daily bomb threats.

          2. Jayne*

            Sorry fposte, misread where I was in the stream. When we had no threat, but an actual dummie bomb, they did pull the fire alarm and everyone except for the one colleague evaluated. He, of course, made himself the prime suspect by not leaving. The thought was that only the bomber would know that it was not a real bomb. Did I mention that it was Sept. 11, 20o2, the one year anniversary of 9/11? The FBI was a bit on edge.

    2. Gazebo Slayer*

      I once attended a school where a student actually brought in multiple bombs one time. He was suspended but not expelled; I don’t think he was even prosecuted. (The district had a habit of caving to whiny unreasonable parents, so I suspect that’s what happened.)

      After this, there were several more bomb threats. Which the school administrators ignored because they didn’t want to disrupt classes.


      No regard for safety at all. None.

      1. Fake old Converse shoes*

        Ha! My school didn’t care to tell us why do we had to leave the place, they just told us to leave. A couple of kids saw the chance and didn’t come back for the rest of the day.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            Wow, we used to get a daily bomb threat that never came to anything, and the administration still evacuated the school every single day until the guy was caught.

      2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        My middle school ended up not closing when there was a bomb threat because it would have violated policy; we’d had so many snow days that closing would have had us attending in July. They called all the parents (it was about midnight when my folks got the call) to say that coming in the next day was optional.

        Of course, what do you do when you get a midnight call? Ignore it or take it sleepily, grunt something, and forget. Maybe a quarter of the students got sent off by parents who didn’t get or didn’t remember the optional attendance, and we joked that we were the ones our parents loved least.

        1. Gazebo Slayer*

          The prevalence of gross incompetence with terrible judgment – and often outright malice – is VERY high among school administrators in my experience. Few good ones seem to exist. I don’t know why.

          1. Fake old Converse shoes*

            Yes. My school had a really bad combination of conservative/paranoid/backwards parents and admins, ridiculous rules, and classmates out of control. I didn’t transfer because back in my teenage years it had one of the best academic levels in the area. Now I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, not even to my worst enemy.

    3. Case of the Mondays*

      Someone I know worked at a gov’t agency that so frequently received bomb threats that the SOP wasn’t to evacuate. They called the dogs in and only if the dogs smelled something funky would they evacuate. I’m sure they had some other criteria for determining whether it was a legit threat or not. What is so funny to me about this is the agency was housed in a private office building that was 15 stories. There were many other businesses including multiple law firms that likely had no idea about the number of bomb threats their building was experiencing.

  26. Beck*

    I actually like the idea of raffling off extra vacation days, especially for a company where you don’t get a lot to begin with. An extra day can make quite a difference!

    1. Blue_eyes*

      Exactly. And it’s very cheap for the company to do, compared to raffling and iPad or something. Giving days off only “costs” them the lost productivity, but I would argue that benefits to morale and a better rested employee outweigh that anyway.

  27. Amber Rose*

    OP3, check your OSHA rules. I’m not in the states so I’m not sure, but our rules are pretty close to the US ones and we have the three rights: the right to know, participate and refuse unsafe work.

    That first one particularly covers the obligation of employers to inform staff of any and all hazards and potential hazards so they can react appropriately, and workplace violence is a hazard. The third one allows people to refuse unusually dangerous work without fear of retaliation. This whole situation would definitely violate our laws.

    1. fposte*

      Probably not. “There are currently no specific OSHA standards for workplace violence.” So begins the OSHA page on workplace violence. There are guidelines, but they’re not binding.

      An earlier interpretation that they cite again later, so it seems to be fundamental, is: “In a workplace where the risk of violence and serious personal injury are significant enough to be “recognized hazards,” the general duty clause would require the employer to take feasible steps to minimize those risks. Failure of an employer to implement feasible means of abatement of these hazards could result in the finding of an OSH Act violation.

      On the other hand, the occurrence of acts of violence which are not “recognized” as characteristic of employment and represent random antisocial acts which may occur anywhere would not subject the employer to a citation for a violation of the OSH Act.”

      This to me suggests that if you were, say, a prison guard or staff in a residential care facility for certain populations, where violence could be construed as a characteristic of employment, OSHA might have something to say, but guy comes to work with a gun is outside of their purview.

        1. LBK*

          If the initial event isn’t under OSHA’s purview, I’m not sure why the cover up would be. If anyone’s likely to care about this it would be the NLRB since they govern your right to discuss workplace conditions.

        2. Zip Zap*

          I think it would violate laws that are not specific to the work place. It also could point to something else going on that they’re motivated to hide. It’s hard to say what that could be, but it all sounds sketchy.

      1. Amber Rose*

        But it’s less specifically about workplace violence, and more about the right to know about existing hazards, isn’t it? Whether it’s a dude with a gun, or an exposed live wire, I would be expected to inform people about it so they don’t get hurt.

        1. LBK*

          But it doesn’t sound like an active shooter is considered a “hazard” under OSHA in the way that the right to know about hazards would apply. I think generally speaking, the spirit of OSHA is about protecting you from dangers you would encounter in the standard course of your work, not just any danger that happens to take place at work. My understanding is that it was formed in response to growing usage of/concerns about hazardous chemicals to ensure that people weren’t being exposed to health risks on a regular basis simply by nature of doing their jobs. It’s not meant to cover one-off incidents unrelated to work tasks, which is why their inspections don’t cover things like active shooter preparedness.

          1. Zip Zap*

            But think outside of OSHA. Say you’re in a park and there’s an active shooter. Someone nearby tells you not to tell anyone about it. They say that if you do, they’ll make sure you lose your job (or something equivalent). That person would, in effect, be helping the shooter, and attempting to put people in harm’s way. That kind of thing is against the law in most places.

  28. Lia*

    I work in higher education, and I know that the testing companies DO ask for your test scores upon hire, even if you took it 20-30 years ago. Also, the tests have been rescaled a number of times since, so a 1200 combined of 1600 in 1995 is not equivalent to a 1200 combined today.

    A high school classmate of mine has his ACT score on his LinkedIn profile, and we are north of 40 years old now. He’s an engineer, and no, he did not get a perfect score.

    1. Brett*

      Yep, I’ve worked ACT, MCAT, WorkKeys, and probably a dozen different Pearson VUE programs. Test scores are required for hire, and any scoring or test writing job has mandatory minimum scores. These are actually required by the various state contracts held by these testing companies.
      The minimum scores for the test writing positions were pretty high (34 ACT/1500 SAT if I remember right) and even higher for the psychometrics positions.
      There were some other random educational programs that required test scores too, like the NCAA eligibility screeners and federal student loan help line. All of it was dictated by the contracts.

  29. Fake old Converse shoes*

    High School average is required in some application systems (Taleo, for example), and I HATE IT. I even deleted my account in two job search portals because they made them mandatory without informing its users.

  30. GazMunk*

    My office does monthly bbqs in the summer months and with those lunches we do games where the money paid to play goes to charity. The prizes often were lottery tickets and there used to always be 1 day off with pay and 2 1/2 days off with pay. Everyone looked forward to those games because of the chance to win extra holiday time.
    Then, with no explanation they decided to change the prizes to lottery tickets and company bought gift cards to like Starbucks and McDonalds. The days off with pay were no longer available. We were never told why.
    Because of this, donations and interest in the games has declined and where we used to have donations in the $200 range every month (not bad considering we’re an office of only around 40 people) we now range in the $50 area.
    Admittedly, I don’t work for or with a very motivated bunch of people but those days off with pay were huge to everyone. It’s the first thing people ask when they hear we’re doing the charity game… is there a day off? When the answer is no, they tend not to pay to play.

    So I don’t find it weird the LW’s company does days with pay in a raffle. I think it’s something that can motivate people and almost be a team building exercise.

    1. Emergency Planner*

      Yeah, I thought OP’s sketchy situation sniffer was way off about vacation as a prize. It’s pretty standard everywhere I’ve worked. And pretty much every time there is a different prize, somebody is sure to mention how they’d really prefer cash or time off.

  31. Lurker #2*

    I think I know the employer you are talking about when it comes to the SAT scores because I applied for a job with them in April. I am in my 30s and my college days are a distant past and I honestly don’t remember my SAT scores. I received a follow-up questionnaire from them and most of the questions were about my college experience, how I would want to be featured in my alumni magazine (hint– I don’t), etc.

    Despite my rejection, I’m still on the email list for them and they email me opportunities about every other week. Almost every email mentions ‘recent grads’ and ‘begin your career with …” Their pay is also terrible (doing the same type of work for another firm, which I have done, pays almost double) which could explain high turnover. I almost feel that 25 is too old for them.

  32. I totally don't know anything about this*

    I wonder how employers who ask for SAT scores handle people who never took them? I went from high school to military then community college then to university via transfer. Never took the SAT, ACT, or any of the other college entrance exams.

    1. Brett*

      For the testing employers that I worked for, you had to take the test if you had not previously taken it. They paid for it.

      1. Lia*

        That matches with my experience.

        At my university, if you transfer in with more than 24 credits, you do not need to submit high school transcripts, and community colleges generally do not require any standardized testing, so it’s definitely possible to get a bachelor’s degree without a standardized test score.

        1. Zip Zap*

          Thank goodness. Tests work better for some people than for others. Since they don’t really equate to much outside of school (ie most people don’t take tests for a living), it’s good that there are ways around them.

        1. Brett*

          As I mentioned elsewhere, it was mandated by the contracts that their clients (mostly state governments but also lots of non-profits) made them sign. It’s very similar to the test prep business though, your scores reflect your understanding of how the tests work, which is needed to score the tests and write questions for them.

  33. NaoNao*

    I am in the interview process for a very high profile company and the HR screen asked for my GPA (I’m 8 years out of school and 10 years out of undergrad, I have extensive work history and even work awards!). I was prepared for this, having read Glassdoor notes saying to expect as much, and I told them the truth: “I can give you a very ballpark #, but honestly, I haven’t been asked that since 2007!” They wanted the ballpark number! I gave it, and then the next day hopped on my school’s website and ordered transcripts. Thankfully, I was correct in my ballpark estimate (at least for grad school, which…it’s not med school or law school. Why do they care what my GPA for my English Lit with a focus on linguistics was….?) so I breathed a sigh of relief.

    But I was put off by this. I realize she was going down a checklist, but asking me my GPA when I’m an experienced, mid-career candidate is…weird. They also asked current salary, which cheesed me off too. Not enough to bow out, but enough that I was like “gr.”

    1. Specialk9*

      I mean, they’re always going to ask about salary, unless it’s illegal there, and even then they often still will. They will always try to get good people as cheap as possible.

      1. Kyrielle*

        Not always. :) It’s totally legal where I am, and my current employer never once asked my prior salary. They asked what I was looking for, but they didn’t ask what I’d been making.

    2. Anna*

      I did order a copy of my transcripts because for government applications, if you’re using a combination of education and experience when you’re applying for a job, they want to be able to verify you have the education you claim to have. I get that. I can’t remember if I ever had to enter my GPA on the website, though.

    3. Zip Zap*

      High profile doesn’t always mean good company to work for. I’m sure you know that. It’s good that you’re evaluating them independently.

  34. elledubcee*

    Thank you everyone for the feedback (and thank you Alison for answering my question!) Anyway, I was the one who asked about the SAT Scores on a job application. I agree with those of you who said it seems like they are trying to measure intelligence (which, ironically, is a stupid way to measure that) but what they ultimately end up measuring unintentionally is privilege.

    I applied because it looked interesting, but after more research and asking around to folks in my network familiar with the organization, it sounds like “Director” is used VERY loosely there (and “Directors” there are SEVERELY underpaid). Still, they have no reason to ask me for my SAT Scores as it isn’t a measure of skill, knowledge, or intelligence especially since I am 11 years removed from undergrad.

    Needless to say, I am not as interested in the job as I was before, but I know there are other opportunities out there waiting for me.

    Thanks again!

  35. k8*

    the comments on this post are giving me flashbacks to my career as an SAT tutor . . . i am so damn glad to be out of that business!

  36. Cyberspace Dreamer*


    At OLDJOB a manager found a hand written letter threatening bodily harm. This manager had been involved in a quite a few terminations after her arrival, including my own resignation (a cleaner, so to speak). For the rest of her tenure her boyfriend escorted her to the door of the main office and then another manager had to walk with her whenever she left her office.

    HR was aware of this but I cannot be sure if it was investigated. That manager ended up resigning a few months later. Some believe she fabricated the letter to make it easier to get out of the job. But considering the other issues going on at OLDJOB it should have been taken more seriously.

    1. Lil Fidget*

      TWIST as a mystery lover I’d suspect the boyfriend. Maybe he figured this would drive her into his arms?

  37. anna*

    LW #1: You don’t need to take the SATs if you transfer from a community college to a 4-year university. I never took them and graduated with honors from a state college ( I am in CA, if it matters). So, this potentially discriminates against those who took that route…

  38. Manager-at-Large*

    If they want a measure of aptitude or intelligence, then they should administer an instrument for that purpose themselves when you are an applicant. Like Wunderlich as an example. SAT scores? Ridiculous.

  39. Greg*

    Wait a second: When did llama grooming replace chocolate teapot design as AAM’s go-to industry?


      1. Kyrielle*

        Llama Llama, Teapot Breakroom Drama!

        …yes, I have a kid who was recently young enough to adore the Llama Llama books, why do you ask?

  40. MassMatt*

    #2, I am mystified why you are up in arms about your company raffling off tickets for time off. You ask whether it is legal (yes), weird (no–it’s quite common), and can it be stopped (why would you want to?) In your own post you complain that your employer gives below average PTO compared to your industry, yet when they give more (even if only to a few via a raffle) you want it stopped. Can you give some insight as to why this bothers you so much?

  41. ArtK*

    Asking for SAT scores for a director-level position? That would be an enormous red flag for me. It’s an indication that someone’s priorities are seriously messed up. What’s next, your HS GPA? SAT isn’t indicative of anything useful in the business world. Unless, of course, you’ll be taking SAT-like tests all of the time.

  42. Kelli*

    The workplace violence LW needs to rethink working there. At my old job a colleague I knew (worked a floor away) was assaulted in the elevator by a flasher (who also exposed himself). She quit the job and I only found out what happened from a friend who didn’t work with us who is involved with the police and community organization. He asked about it and when I didn’t know sent me the police photo of the creep in the same elevator I rode in everyday.

    This is your employer showing how much they care…believe them.

  43. Xie*

    Asking for SAT scores isn’t just potentially ageist, it’s potentially open to discrimination against immigrants or others that didn’t go through a standard education too!

    1. Goya*

      Or even just those parts of the US that didn’t require it. I think a lot of the schools in the Midwest ( I could be totally wrong on this!) are more ACT driven than SAT.

  44. ChrisD*

    I thought I’d reply to say that I agree with #2’s instincts that it’s weird. It’s not a bottle of wine, it’s a gift that is solely in the hands of the organisation to bestow, and arguably priceless.

    I know from Alison’s posts and the comments so far that I’m not in good company with this thought, but it would rub me up the wrong way to know other people are being rewarded with a work incentive that doesn’t have a simple value. If staff could buy days off for their daily salary or something, that would be different as it would turn the prize into something of monetary value to each person, but I assume that’s not the case in the OP’s scenario.

    1. ancientmillenial*

      But it does have monetary value. PTO is regarded as a financial liability for a company and an increase (however small) increases the company’s financial liability and provides an additional benefit to the employee they would not have otherwise. If you are an exempt employee it is added to your PTO bank so you would still receive more than you normally have.

      Total comp package = base pay, PTO monetary value (vacation, sick, whatever), employer contributions to insurance, etc. It’s more than your hourly pay or annual base salary.

  45. MHR*

    I would have to go take the SAT to get them a score! I went to community college before transferring to a 4 year school and never ended up taking it.

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